Presentation of the growth agenda South Holland: the path to more growth?
Frank van Oort, Professor of Urban & Regional Economics at Erasmus School of Economics, elaborates on the growth agenda of South Holland. Jeroen van Haaren, senior researcher Urban Economics and Real Estate at Erasmus School of Economics, contributed to the agenda as well. Where lies its focus and what is the current state of the South Holland economy? In the presentation, Van Oort explains the importance of implementing all measures as a whole.
The current situation of the South Holland economy is worrisome: economic growth has structurally been 10 to 15 percent lower in comparison with other important regions in the Netherlands. Comparable regions such as Antwerp, München and Stockholm have even grown three times as fast. Due to the current pandemic, important sectors in South Holland are suffering. Unemployment is relatively high and will continue to rise if nothing is done to fight it, innovation is slacking and an impulse is needed to boost sustainable operations.
The road to synergies
However, South Holland is a province full of opportunities: it accounts for almost 25% of the Dutch economy, it is highly populated and growing very fast. Because of this, there is a lot of knowledge in the region as well and this needs to be exploited and facilitated as much as possible. According to Van Oort, South Holland companies and knowledge institutes have key positions in the current national, European and global value chains. In order to unleash the region’s potential, the growth agenda intends to make use of the national growth fund, established by former ministers Wiebes and Hoekstra. However, this is not the only contributing source; for the plan to be successful, all measures have to be implemented by a partnership of governmental and non-governmental organisations and knowledge institutes. Only in this way, by using a strong organising ability, synergies between public capital, private capital, and R&D can be achieved.
The focal points of the agenda are summed up in five topics: knowledge and innovation ecosystems, production, energy infrastructure, a transition in mobility and human capital. This is a value chain in itself: new ideas are developed, after which the province produces these products in a sustainable manner, using the human capital of inhabitants of South Holland. Some examples that are suggested to achieve this, are building metropolitan public transport to increase interconnectivity and building more houses. By means of these solutions, Van Oort believes that this increases the efficiency of industrial clusters.