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OECD Territorial Reviews: Småland-Blekinge, Sweden 2012

image of OECD Territorial Reviews: Småland-Blekinge, Sweden 2012

The OECD territorial review of Småland-Blekinge presents an overview of recent trends, regional policies and governance arrangements of this region that is made up of four counties in South-East Sweden: Jönköping,  Kronoberg, Kalmar and Blekinge. The challenges include the need to facilitate a shift from the region’s historic specialisation in medium-low and low technology manufacturing towards more knowledge-intensive activities. This will require addressing the supply of human capital, improving connectivity and enhancing the attractiveness of the region. A regionalisation reform is now under discussion in Sweden with potential implications for Småland-Blekinge. Whatever the future administrative structure of Småland-Blekinge, the effectiveness of regional development policies and public service delivery will be directly related to strengthened interaction and co-ordination arrangements among the numerous actors and administrative units involved.

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Economic competitiveness in the Småland-Blekinge region

The lack of technology-intensive industries and knowledge-based enterprises and the lack of skilled labour are two inter-related factors constraining the competitiveness and growth opportunities of Småland-Blekinge. The region’s traditional sectors need to evolve towards a knowledge-based economy to ensure the maintenance and growth of the region’s prosperity. Yet the adjustment of its industrial fabric will require a highly qualified and dynamic labour supply. The regional competitiveness of Småland-Blekinge relies greatly on its ability to attract and retain youth, migrants, women and their families, so that they can work, live and set up businesses in the area. This is directly related to the perceived attractiveness of the region in terms of quality of life and the availability of attractive jobs and business opportunities. This chapter first looks at how to ensure a highly qualified and dynamic labour supply by better integrating youth and women in the local economy and by attracting talent from outside. It then focuses on factors that can help make Småland-Blekinge an attractive place to live and work and to improve the framework for business competitiveness.

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