Going Global

The global economy is going through a major transformation. Forces such as the rise of emerging markets, an aging population, the power of disruptive technologies, and greater global connectivity are driving demand for new products and services and creating new economic opportunities.

We are well-positioned to meet those demands and capitalize on new opportunities by aligning our traditional economic strengths with technology-driven global opportunities.

To compete to win, we must reassess our definition of competitiveness. In order to deliver clear results that enhance our global competitiveness, governments must:

Global Opportunity

Changing dynamics across the globe – driven largely by technology and demographics – are transforming demand for products and services and global value chains at an unprecedented pace and scale.

  1. The Rise of emerging marketsRising demand for agri-food & energy

Middle class growth in emerging markets, will drive an increase in protein consumption and demand for food produced in a safe and environmentally sustainable way.

Emerging markets will consume almost 2/3 of the world’s manufactured goods by 2025. By 2030, developing countries are projected to account for more than half of all global consumptions.

Middle class growth in emerging markets 2010-2030: 3 billion people.

  • By 2050, global demand for agri-food is expected to rise by 70%.
  • The world will need to produce as much food in the next 45 years as in the previous 10,000.
  • Demand for plastics (used for food preservation, electronics, household products): nearly doubled since 2000.
  • Petrochemicals set to account for more than a third of the growth in oil demand to 2030, and nearly half to 2050.
  1. An aging population
     Increased need for health innovation

The global population is aging (even more so in developing countries), health care costs are rising, and chronic diseases are increasing in prevalence driving a demand for a more efficient delivery system for patients and practitioners.

Global population over the age of 60:
382 million in 1980
962 million in 2017
2.1 billion in 2050.

Global digital health market expected to grow from $118 billion to $223.7 billion by 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 45%.

  1. The power of disruptive technologiesProductivity & economic growth opportunities

Agritech – Market value of smart farming applications is expected to reach $23.14 billion by 2022 globally, rising at a compound annual growth rate of 19.3% from 2017.

Life sciences – Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning applications in health technology valued at $1.4 billion in 2016, with expected annual 40% growth rate to reach $6.6 billion by 2021.

Clean tech – Global clean tech activity is estimated at over $1 trillion and expected to exceed $2.5 trillion by 2022.

Advanced manufacturing – IOT applications in manufacturing will generate $1.2-$3.7 trillion of global economic value annually by 2025. Industry 4.0 technologies have the ability to boost the productivity of the world’s factories by 10-25%, adding 1-1.5% to a nation’s annual productivity growth.

Industry 4.0 Technologies have the ability to boost the productivity of the world’s factories by 10-25%, adding 1-1.5% to a nation’s annual productivity growth.

Benefits of Going Global

To put the benefits in terms of simple numbers: when countries increase their level of globalization by 1%, their GDP growth rises by 10-15 basis points. That’s a linkage we can’t afford to ignore with our inbound FDI and our GDP growth steadily on the decline.

Those companies that don’t work in international markets become less competitive and more vulnerable.- IESE Business School, Forbes Magazine
The evidence is clear that greater exports and foreign investment are beneficial to firms, workers and metro economies. Every region can – and must – be global in its orientation to take advantage of these trends, rather than be taken advantage of.- The Brookings Institute
  • New Customers
  • Lowering Costs
  • Diversification of Risk
  • Increased Competitiveness
  • Opens Avenues to Rising Corporate Profits
  • Introduction of New Technology & Innovation
  • Access to International Supply Chains & Business Partnerships

Government’s Role

Challenge orthodoxies

Re-evaluate competitiveness

Set ambitious goals

The winners in the new era of globalization will be those who can reallocate resources while quickly adopting strategies and policies to take advantage of the trends.- Public Policy Forum

Adopt A Global Mindset

An all-of-government approach to internationalizing our economy and businesses focuses on reforming institutions and the data that drives decision-making.

Competitiveness resides at no fixed address and never stops to rest. It is a dynamic process and so Canada’s ability to create goods and services the world wants and get them to market at attractive prices must be continuously re-evaluated against changing circumstances and the shifting capabilities of other nations intent on eating our lunch.- A New North Star, Public Policy Forum

Whole-of-government systemic and cultural shift

Data-driven decision making

Create An Enabling Environment

The enabling environment of global competitiveness includes using levers like infrastructure, taxation and regulation to enable economic growth and internationalization.

There are certain table stakes to making a jurisdiction competitive that cross all levels of government and they include:


All are necessary, one is not sufficient for global competitiveness.

The World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion survey lists that the most problematic factors for doing business in Canada are:

  1. Inefficient government bureaucracy
  2. Tax rates
  3. Insufficient capacity to innovate
  4. Inadequate supply of infrastructure
  5. Tax regulations
  6. Policy instability

Invest In A Globally Competitive Talent Pool

Attract, develop and retain a more globally competitive, diverse and digitally-skilled workforce.

In a globalized economy where the application of innovation, creativity and ideas drives competitiveness, having a skilled talent pool is more important than ever. Canada’s prosperity increasingly depends on intellectual capital, but our talent pool is struggling to keep pace with the needs of global employers, especially in the digital economy. Several employers flagged talent shortages in technical fields, such as computer science, data science and cyber security.

The most recent Outlook forecasts a cumulative labour shortage in Alberta of 49,000 workers by the year 2025.

Forecasted labour shortage of more than 1,000 workers by 2025 of computer and information systems professionals (NOC C07).

Fast-track foreign talent

Retain international students

Empower Indigenous Peoples

Skills for the modern economy

Foster World Class Innovation

Foster public-private partnerships, accelerate commercialization and adoption of advanced technologies, integrate innovators with the global supply chain and showcase local innovations globally.

It’s time to foster a homegrown advantage by commercializing our own innovations.- Digital Industries Economic Strategy Table Report

Innovation is not only required for traditional sectors to keep pace with the global economy, but it is in itself a sector and generator of wealth. Those jurisdictions not enabled for innovation will fall far behind in terms of GDP growth and overall economic prosperity and sustainability. Canada already has– it’s time to catch up.

The goal is to create innovation assets (such as intellectual property, data and talent) and then export those assets once commercialized. Canada has a habit of divesting our innovation assets before they are commercialized, losing out on the potential to be first adopters of new technology, and grow companies to global scale. This is the result of a failure of innovation policy.

Canada ranked 32nd for commercialization on World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index.

Scale for global growth

Speed to market

Facilitate digitization and adoption

Thank You

Find out how you can join our advocacy efforts.
Contact Edmonton Global to talk to us about our work on competitiveness.

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Going Global: A Guide to Competing in a Globalized Economy
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