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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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Trends and challenges

This chapter presents an overview of recent demographic, social and economic trends in the four counties of Småland-Blekinge, setting them in both Swedish and international contexts. It identifies a series of policy challenges for the region that are addressed in the chapters to follow. These 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. In addition, demographic trends raise increasing challenges for public service delivery, particularly in sparsely populated municipalities that are experiencing both population decline and accelerated population ageing. This reinforces the need to expand and deepen the range of instruments and institutions for inter-municipal co-operation.

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