GeoSpotlight: Economic Development


Myanmar (also known as Burma) is one of the world’s most elusive countries. With limited tourist access, breathtaking scenery, and a strong, traditional culture, it’s no wonder that the mystery of this country is the reason it remains on the top of so many travelers’ bucket lists. This year, the country welcomed a record-number of tourists. Why? Learn more about their unique approach to tourism and what keeps people all over the world wanting more.


Learn more:

Tourist numbers to Myanmar rise

Tourism in Myanmar up 18 percent

Myanmar’s tourism industry targets U.S. 


Norway: Leading the World's Green Economy

Ranked number one in Planet & Climate index, Norway leads the world in a number of environmental initiatives, including the highest electric car adoption in the world and a governmental pledge to be climate neutral by 2030. Culturally, Norwegians further embrace the concept of friluftsliv, or “open-air life,” that values spending time outdoors in nature to be happy.


Learn more: 

Norway's Economy Expands Faster Than Estimated in Fourth Quarter

Prospects Bright for Norway's Economy

Living in a Country That Thinks Green

Czech Republic: #1 Country for Women to Work Abroad

According to the latest InterNations survey, Czech Republic has become the number one working destination for women in the world, followed by Bahrain and Taiwan, based on career prospects and satisfaction, work and leisure, and economy and job security. Since 2015, the country’s popularity in expat community witnessed exponential growth, climbing from rank 26 in 2015 to top 3 nation to work abroad in 2018.


Learn more:

The Czech Republic is the world's best country for women to work

Revised GDP Data Show Czech Economy Doing Well Despite Eurozone Downturn

Record Number of Czechs Happy With the State of the Country's Economy


Vietnam: From isolation to global manufacturing hub

Following the international spotlight as a host of US-North Korea summit, Vietnam gains attention as an exemplary nation for North Korea to join global economy. The country now holds a record of maintaining the fastest-growing GDP at 7% in 2018, with similar growth forecast for 2019.


Please viist the following sites for additional information:

Vietnam overcame isolation to become a manufacturing hub -- and North Korea is watching

Vietnam's Booming Economy Offers Investment Opportunities

Vietnam's economy races ahead. But can it keep the wheels on?

UAE: Growth ahead despite overall global growth plateaus

The UAE is expected to have overall growth of 3.7 percent according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Amidst a volatile global, political climate with Brexit-related change and trade wars between China and the US, the UAE has demonstrated high placement on competitive rankings. Additionally, the implementation of Microsoft's 2018 investment into the region's first data centers will fuel economic development for digital and technological entrepreneurship.


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UAE's real GDP 'to grow 3.7%' in 2019

Oil equity markets gain but uncertainty loom ahead

Why Microsoft's new UAE data centres will boost economic growth and accelerate digitization in the region

India: World’s Fastest Growing Economy Committed to Inclusive Growth

With an average of 7 percent of GDP growth in the past year, most growth has been in the food export industry. Initiatives implemented to boost investments in the manufacturing sector aim to address unemployment among India’s youth while increasing access to financial services has seen great progress, deemed the most inclusive reform targeting Indian households that had never previously held a bank account.


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India’s Economy is booming. Now comes the hard part

What Does the Food Industry in India 2018 Look Like?


USA ranks most competitive economy in a decade, but will it last?

Despite low IT adoption rates compared to other advanced economies, GDP growth of 4 percent in the second quarter is astonishing, yet economists do not predict the current growth rate will be sustained as it’s been mainly driven by tax cuts under Trump administration. In relationship to the global economy, the rise of technological innovation, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, low-tarriff barriers and ease of entry for foreign labor may play a big part in the continuing to expand opportunity within the US. While technology and political policy are important, the stability of the global economy is questioned as the divide between emerging and competitive economies rises.

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US named the world’s most competitive economy

US economy growing at annual rate of 4.1 percent, fastest pace in four years

Can the U.S. Economy Keep Growing?


Previously in 2018, Iceland passed a law making it illegal for men to be paid more than women for the same work. Within both the private and public sectors, companies are now required to prove that they do not participate in gender discrimination and give unequal pay. The law applies to companies with 25 employees or more and they are required to prove their equality every three years. According to the World Economic Forum, Iceland is recognized for having the best gender equality standards in the world.

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Iceland passes new equal pay law

Companies now required to demonstrate equal pay


Denmark has been experiencing notable economic growth, exceeding forecasts of market expansions with GDP growth of 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2018. However, a moderating economy is not the only factor the country is being recognized for. In January, a survey conducted by the U.S. News & World Report identified Denmark as the top country for women. Taking into account five equally weighted attributes including gender equality, safety, progress, income equality, and care about human rights, women are in favor of the economic environment and progression in this Scandinavian country. 


Please visit the following sites for additional information:

U.S. News and World Report 

Denmark GDP Growth 

Singapore ranks the top city in Asia in quality of life for expats

Globalization means more companies are sending employees abroad. To measure the best quality of life for expats, Mercer studied quality of life based on ranking factors such as banking services, political stability, healthcare, electricity and crime. Singapore was ranked the top city in Asia, though it still falls behind European cities, ranking at 25th globally. Notably, Singapore was ranked No 1 globally for city infrastructure. 


Please visit the following sites for additional information:

Mercer Quality of Living Survey

Singapore Tops Quality of Living Index 

Singapore Nicest Place to Live for Expats

Copenhagen leading the charge in smart city innovation

EasyPark's Smart City Index ranks the top 100 cities on what makes a smart city. It looked at seven categories: Transportation and Mobility, Sustainability, Governance, Innovation Economy, Digitalization, Living Standard, and Expert Perception. The index ranked the smartest city to live in as Copenhagen, Denmark, with an overall score of 8.24. Copenhagen's goal is to become carbon neutral by 2025. One way the city wants to achieve this is by installing an Intelligent Transport Systems Action Plan, to make the bicycle and bus commute easier and more efficient.   


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Choosing Amazon’s New Headquarters

As Amazon narrows down their list of potential locations for their second major headquarters, key considerations like economic environment, technology growth, and job growth are top of mind. The Milken Institute’s annual Best-Performing Cities index details these factors in determining city performance. Learn more about each of Amazon’s finalist city considerations through Miliken’s interactive breakdown:

  1. Raleigh
  2. Dallas
  3. Nashville
  4. Austin
  5. Atlanta
  6. Denver
  7. Boston
  8. Miami
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Columbus
  11. Indianapolis
  12. New York
  13. Philadelphia
  14. Chicago
  15. Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, Montgomery County (evaluated as one region)
  16. Pittsburgh

Fastest Growing Economies 2018

Ten years after the global recession, developing economies have emerged as the collective engine responsible for three quarters of world growth – led by policy-reformed India, and trade-oriented countries in East Africa and Asia.


Experts say the common features behind the relative success of economies like Ethiopia, India, Uzbekistan and Cambodia is robust, and includes: middle-class-driven domestic consumption; sound trade policies; tech-enabled financial inclusion; new partnerships; and significant government spending on infrastructure.


According to the World Bank, emerging markets are projected to grow at 4.1 percent in 2018, compared to a modest but relatively positive growth forecast of 1.9 percent among advanced economies. The World Bank projects global growth of 2.7 percent overall for 2018.


Please visit the following sites for additional information:


Nasdaq: 5 Fastest Growing Economies 


World Economic Forum: 2017 Fastest Growing Economies


Global Finance: Highest GDP Growth 2017

World Tourism Organization: Sustainable Development of Tourism

Sustainable tourism development requires the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure wide participation and consensus building. Achieving sustainable tourism is a continuous process and it requires constant monitoring of impacts, introducing the necessary preventive and/or corrective measures whenever necessary.View Website »

National Association for County Community and Economic Development

The National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) was established as an affiliate of the National Association of Counties (NACo) in 1978 to develop the technical capacity of county government practitioners that administer federally-funded affordable housing, community development, and economic development programs benefiting low- and moderate-income households.View Website »

International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions.View Website »

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Reflection on development is at the heart of UNCTAD’s work. It produces often-innovative analyses that form the basis for recommendations to economic policymakers. The aim is to help them take informed decisions and promote the macroeconomic policies best suited to ending global economic inequalities and to generating people-centered sustainable development.View Website »

Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI)

DAI works on the frontlines of international development. Transforming ideas into action—action into impact. DAI is committed to shaping a more livable world, and tackles fundamental social and economic development problems caused by inefficient markets, ineffective governance, and instability.View Website »

Center for Global Development

CGD conducts research and analysis on a wide range of topics related to how policies and actions of the rich and powerful affect poor people in the developing world. Examples include aid effectiveness, climate change, education, globalization, health, migration and trade. Drawing on our research, we actively engage with thought leaders, policymakers, and others to move our ideas to action.


We organize work that is related to proposals for specific, practical policy improvements into initiatives, such as Development Impact Bonds, Cash-on-Delivery Aid, Preemptive Contract Sanctions, Oil to Cash, and More Health for the Money. Our Commitment to Development Index annually ranks more than two dozen high-income countries on the seven main policy areas that influence development outcomes: aid, trade, investment, migration, environment, security, and technology.View Website »

The Laboratory Safety Institute

The Laboratory Safety Institute (LSI) was founded in 1978 by Dr. James A. Kaufman to provide safety training for secondary school science teachers. Today, LSI has grown to become "An International Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Affairs."View Website »

Silicon Valley Economic Development Alliance

The Silicon Valley EDA is a regional partnership of economic development professionals who bring together public and private resources to ensure the success of businesses in Silicon Valley.

Established in 1993, Joint Venture Silicon Valley provides analysis and action on issues affecting our region's economy and quality of life. The organization brings together established and emerging leaders—from business, government, academia, labor and the broader community—to spotlight issues and work toward innovative solutions.View Website »

The Insight Center for Community Economic Development

The Insight Center for Community Economic Development is a national research, consulting, and legal organization dedicated to building economic health in vulnerable communities. The Insight Center’s mission is to help people and communities become, and remain, economically secure.


The Insight Center believes that the pathway to sustainable growth for our country and its people lies in strengthening our most vulnerable and economically detached populations.


The Insight Center envisions a nation where all people have access to the resources, opportunities and support they need to help them realize their potential and achieve economic security. We envision a nation of individuals and families with sufficient income, quality education, decent and affordable housing and health care, child and elder care, a safe environment, and savings and other economic assets.View Website »

Caribbean Development Bank

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is a regional financial institution that was established to contribute to the harmonious economic growth and development of the member countries in the Caribbean. Its mission is also to promote economic cooperation and integration among its member countries, having special and urgent regard to the needs of the less developed members of the regions.View Website »

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation

Norad is devoted to the fight against poverty, as well as helping to empower recipient countries to achieve their own development goals. The majority of Norwegian development assistance is administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norwegian foreign missions. In the case of aid funds that are not administered by Norad, the agency provides advice on what is required to achieve results, communicates results and contributes to debate on the effects of development assistance.View Website »

Economic Development Association Scotland

The Economic Development Association Scotland (EDAS) was formed to provide a range of supports and services to those with an interest in economic development in Scotland. EDAS aims to facilitate a substantial improvement in the effectiveness of economic development activity in Scotland through raising knowledge, skills and networks of those involved in all aspects of economic development.

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ALADI - Latin American Integration Association

The Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) is comprised of 13 member countries. ALADI supports the creation of an area of economic preferences in the region with the ultimate goal of creating a Latin American common market through three mechanisms. These include a regional tariff preference, regional agreements and partial agreements.View Website »

PARP—Polish Agency for Enterprise Development

The mission of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) is to act for the benefit of Polish economic and social development. The primary objective is to develop the sector of small and medium-size enterprises in Poland by supporting exports, strengthening the competitive position of Polish enterprises on foreign markets and making it easier for small and medium-size enterprises to get in touch with foreign companies in their business. View Website »


Despite a decade of strong economic growth and falling unemployment, Brazil’s middle class is now demanding better public services, lower prices and cleaner politicians. A Time Magazine report explains, that the current protests stem from “a general lack of a return on high taxes, and point to inadequate government upkeep and spending on infrastructure, education and healthcare. That stands in stark contrast to the country’s preparations for the FIFA World Cup, which takes place in Brazil next year to the turn of some $14 billion of state investment.”

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Sable Network

The SABLE Accelerator aims to further South Africa’s economic interests through global knowledge transfer and the creation of a trusted expert network of expatriate South Africans willing to contribute back to their native country. The network provides mentoring and consulting services to South African companies, entrepreneurs, and institutions seeking to fund or commercialize innovation, as well as enter, grow, and partner in worldwide markets.View Website »


The Institute of Economic Development (IED) is the leading United Kingdom organisation for economic development practitioners.
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Invitalia's Inward Investment arm promotes inviting business opportunities and strives for the success of each investment project. It embodies a single and reliable national reference point for foreign investors eager to expand or to set up a new business in Italy by providing a full spectrum of services in all stages of the investment processView Website »

Invest in France Agency

The Invest in France Agency (IFA) promotes and facilitates international investment in France. The IFA network operates worldwide. The IFA works in partnership with regional development agencies to offer international investors business opportunities and customized services all over France.View Website »

Pakistan - Board of Investment

The BOI assists companies and investors who intend to invest in Pakistan as well as facilitates the implementation and operation of their projects. The wide range of services provided by BOI includes providing information on the opportunities for investment and facilitating companies that are looking for joint venture partners.

The BOI acts as a focal point of contact for prospective investors, both domestic and foreign to provide them with all necessary information and assistance in coordinating with other Government Departments/Agencies.View Website »

Thailand - Board of Investment

The Board of Investment is working to be your one-stop shop for service. The BOI helps investors in three key ways: To reduce the risks associated with investment, to reduce initial investment costs and to improve the overall rate of return on investment; and to provide support services at all times.View Website »

MIDA – Malaysia

The Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) is the government's principal agency for the promotion of the manufacturing and services sectors in Malaysia. MIDA assists companies which intend to invest in the manufacturing and services sectors, as well as facilitates the implementation of their projects. The wide range of services provided by MIDA include providing information on the opportunities for investments...View Website »

Singapore - IDA Singapore

Singapore sees the importance of infocomm as an engine of growth for the economy. The building of a vibrant infocomm ecosystem is key to supporting the vision of An Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015), A Global City, Powered by Infocomm. In building the ecosystem, three strategic thrusts have been articulated, namely encouraging sophisticated demand for infocomm, fostering the creation of innovative services and knowledge capital, and strengthening Singapore as an economic hub.View Website »

Ireland - IDA Ireland

The IDA is responsible for the attraction of Foreign Direct Investment to Ireland. Ireland as a location for FDI is ‘Open for Business’ helping companies from across the globe to excel in their sector and reach their target markets efficiently and effectively. Almost 1,000 companies – including some of the world’s best known brands – have chosen Ireland as the hub of their European networks because of the winning combination Ireland offers them.View Website »