Developing countries need greater technological capabilities and flexibility to succeed in an increasingly competitive and fast paced global environment, says a new UN report.
The report by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs was launched at the opening of a two-week session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development that will focus on energy, climate change, air pollution and industrial development.
It examines industrial development as central to the process of structural transformation which characterises economic development.
The report also points to new challenges and opportunities facing today's "industrialisers" as a result of globalisation, technological change and international trade rules. It also discusses social and environmental aspects of industrial development.
Josi Antonio Ocampo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said at the report's launch on Monday that industrialisation, an essential element of classical development economics, remains crucial to the process of development.
"But many developing countries had been undergoing the unfortunate experience of de-industrialisation," he said.
Part of the problem, he said, was that in recent years there had been "an obsession with productivity," that had not been properly linked with finance, technology or marketing.
"Industrial development has to be inclusive on a broad base, and depends on the generation of employment," he said.