OECD calls for "thinking big" in Hamburg region

24 September 2019
OECD presents report on development in Hamburg Metropolitan Region

A 200-page report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) presented on Monday (September 23, 2019) in Seevetal makes over 50 recommendations in six thematic areas for development in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The report indicates how the region compares in terms of global competitiveness and innovation. “Thinking big in larger categories, planning and co-operating across borders is key to making the Hamburg Metropolitan Region even more successful, attractive and sustainable,” said Ludger Schuknecht, Deputy Secretary General of the OECD during the presentation. The report marks a first by a German region on its development.

Renewable energies – potential as world market leader

“The OECD attests that the Hamburg Metropolitan Region has the potential to become a world market leader in renewable energies,” said Andreas Rieckhof, State Councillor at the Ministry of Economics, Transport and Innovation and Chairman of the Regional Council. “The sponsors of the metropolitan region have agreed to develop a strategy derived from the North German Hydrogen Strategy in renewable energies and hydrogen to boost progress and innovative technologies and to make an active contribution to the fight against climate change.” Cross-border co-operation in economic clusters such as Hamburg Aviation and the renewable energies is excellent, according to OECD.

Six fields of action

The OECD has made six recommendations for tapping productivity and competitiveness, accelerating growth and improving the quality of life of people across the region. Above all, it recommends thinking ambitiously and across borders and pooling strengths and financial resources in four countries. “This favourable strategic location on the transport and trade corridor connects Germany with Denmark, Sweden and Norway.” The OECD has called for action in terms of innovation, education and skilled workers, digitisation, housing and transport planning, renewable energies as well marketing culture and tourism.

Study highlights strengths and weaknesses

The OECD plays a key role in raising investment in education and skilled labour to stimulate economic development. More research and development is needed to strengthen the links between science and industry, it noted. The Hamburg Metropolitan Region is home to numerous leading research institutes such as the European XFEL, and has a dynamic start-up scene, the study found. An overview of Hamburg’s start-up scene can be found on future.hamburg

Recommendations on digitisation range from further training for employees, promoting SMEs to digitally supported public services. Cross-border, integrated housing and transport planning could meet the requirements of those markets better in future. The quality of life in the region is relatively high and better than in other OECD regions. Marketing strategies for the region should focus on the diversity of urban and rural areas. A joint strategy could link up tourism and sustainable mobility planning.

Sources and further information

Continued economic growth in Hamburg 

Gross domestic product (GDP) in Hamburg rose by 3.4 per cent in nominal terms (in current prices) in the first half of 2019 over the same period in 2018. Taking price changes into account, real economic growth increased 1.6 per cent, according to the Statistics Office North on Tuesday (September 24, 2019). The results for Hamburg are well over the national average, which came to 2.4 per cent in nominal terms and 0.4 per cent in real terms.

Hamburg Metropolitan Region

The Hamburg Metropolitan Region accounts for approximately 8 per cent of Germany’s total area and is the country’s second largest metropolitan region after Berlin-Brandenburg. The Hamburg Metropolitan Region has a population of almost 5.4 million and includes the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg as well as parts of the three surrounding states namely Schleswig-Holstein (51 per cent), Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (30 per cent) and Lower Saxony (26 per cent).

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