Belgium performs well in many economic and social dimensions. However, in spite of several important reforms in recent years productivity growth has weakened markedly since the financial crisis. Reinvigorating productivity growth is vital to sustaining increases in living standards and supporting inclusive growth. Keys to improving productivity include increasing market entry and exit in the business sector, reducing skills mismatches, enhancing mobility in the labour market, improving public infrastructure and fostering innovation. While overall education levels are high, some suffer from poor skills, especially those with a low socio-economic or immigrant background. The labour market performance of immigrants, especially women, and low-skilled and older workers is comparatively weak. Improving the capacity of the educational system to provide disadvantaged students with necessary skills would enhance inclusiveness. Further reducing social security contributions on low wages would facilitate the entry of low-skilled workers into the labour market, while the participation of older people could be boosted by more on-the-job training and increased use of fl exitime. Enhancing productivity and inclusiveness will depend on enhancing social and physical infrastructure investment. Transport infrastructure investment to relieve bottlenecks around big agglomerations would promote both productivity and environmental goals. Given high public debt, these investments could be financed through reductions in inefficient public spending, user fees or by tapping private sources of finance.
The OECD is an international organization that consists of 30 Member countries from the developed world that accept the principles of representative democracy and free market economy. It originated in 1948 as the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) to help administer the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. Later its membership was extended to non-European states, and in 1961 it was reformed into the OECD. The organization provides a forum where governments can compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice and co-ordinate domestic and international policies. With active relationships with some 70 other countries and economies, NGOs and civil society, the organization has a global reach. Renowned for its publications and statistics, its work covers economic and social issues from macroeconomics, to trade, education, environment, development and science and innovation.