Harvard Growth Lab projects fastest-growing economies to 2030

Country Complexity Comparisons

Country Complexity Comparisons graph. Credit: Growth Lab at Harvard University

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China, Vietnam, Uganda, Indonesia, and India are projected to be among the fastest-growing economies to 2030. That is the conclusion of researchers at the Growth Lab at Harvard University who presented new growth projections in the Atlas of Economic Complexity. The release provides the first detailed look at 2020 trade data, including major disruptions to tourism and transport vehicle exports from the global pandemic.

As the effects of the pandemic dissipate, long-term growth is projected to take off between Asia, Eastern Europe, and East Africa. China is expected to be the fastest growing economy per capita, even if the projection finds growth to be slowing from what the country achieved over the past decade. The research finds that countries that have diversified their production into more complex sectors, like Vietnam and China, are those who will experience the fastest growth in the coming decade.

The Growth Lab researchers released new country rankings of the Economic Complexity Index (ECI), which captures the diversity and sophistication of the productive capabilities embedded in the exports of each country. Despite the trade disruption of the pandemic, countries’ economic complexity rankings remain remarkably stable. The ECI ranking finds the most complex countries in the world held steady with, in order, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, South Korea, and Singapore at the top. Other notable countries include the United Kingdom at 10th, the United States at 12th, China at 16th, and Italy at 17th. The measure of economic complexity is able to closely explain differences in country income levels.

Among the most complex countries, the greatest improvements in the rankings for the decade ending in 2020 have been made by the Philippines (ECI: 30th), China (16th), and South Korea (4th). Those developing economies that have made the greatest strides in improving their complexity include Vietnam (51st), Cambodia (72nd), Laos (89th), and Ethiopia (97th). Those countries that show the fastest declines in the complexity rankings in the past decade have become increasingly dependent on commodities or failed to diversify their exports, namely Botswana (111th), Zimbabwe (114th), Ecuador (119th), and Cuba (120th). Among the most complex countries, France (19th) fell the most, having lost six positions in the ranking.