Turkey needs to improve the quality of its education system and move towards a more innovation-oriented economy to be able to grow sustainably, World Bank Vice President Cyril Muller said.
“Access to education has improved and the completion of education is very strong but the issue around quality and having the education to enable young people to find jobs is very important,” Muller told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview recently.
Turkey has a young population when compared to Europe with half of its population under the age of 31 in 2015.
The vice president was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of Turkey’s Investment Advisory Council in Istanbul last week.
Muller, who has been responsible for Europe and central Asia within the World Bank since last year following a 20-year career with the organization, praised Turkey for moving from an agriculture-based economy to one based on manufacturing and services but said the country needed to improve its use of technology.
“It has been very successful in moving from an agriculture-based economy into a modern manufacturing and services economy,” he said. “Yet it needs to enhance its position in the areas around use of technology.”
He stressed that technology and innovation would help create higher value-added services in areas such as information and communications technology.
Despite the pace of economic growth, Turkey needed to grow faster to achieve greater prosperity.
“Turkey’s growth, if you compare it in the world today, is robust,” he said. “Because, indeed, you’re among the fastest growing economies. But if I think of the potential of Turkey and what it needs to continue to build a more prosperous society, it does require Turkey to grow a little faster.”
Turkish GDP growth stood at 3.1 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of this year, compared to 4.7 percent in the first three months of the year.
On Oct. 4, the government cut the 2016 growth forecast to 3.2 percent in the new medium-term economic program from 4.5 percent in its previous report.
“I expect some of those tensions to be resolved and that will provide opportunities for Turkey to grow,” he added.
Sound macroeconomic policy is essential for the kind of growth that will encourage investors from abroad.
“You need basically to have a very solid set of macroeconomic policies and macroeconomic stability to enable your economy to grow,” he said. “Otherwise, your investment will be negatively affected.”
The Investment Advisory Council aims to improve the investment environment in Turkey and attract foreign capital. It was founded in 2004, bringing together senior executives from prominent multinationals to improve Turkey’s image as an investment center.
Last week’s meeting saw CEOs from leading international companies such as Alstom, Alzahid Group Holding, APM Terminals, Bank of China, Bombardier, BP, Burgan Bank, Gemalto, Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Microsoft attend.