UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report

According to the report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the trade of "green goods" increased by four percent in the second half of 2022, amounting to a record $1.9 trillion for the year.

  • It predicted that the market for environmentally friendly technologies would quadruple in value by 2030, reaching $2.1 trillion.
  • The forecast also predicts that global trade will stagnate in the first half of 2023 but may get a boost in the second half of the year due to a weaker US dollar, stabilized shipping costs, and fewer supply chain disruptions.
  • Electric and hybrid vehicles, non-plastic packaging, and wind turbines were among the best-performing green goods in 2022.
  • UNCTAD warned that the outlook for global trade remains uncertain due to factors such as geopolitical tensions, high commodity prices, and record levels of public debt.
  • Despite economic uncertainties, UNCTAD believes that the growth in green goods is set to continue, driven by the momentum on climate action.
  • It warned that developed countries are benefiting the most from these economic opportunities related to green technologies, while developing countries are falling behind.
  • It called on the international community to support emerging green industries in developing economies through global trade rules and technology transfers, enabling them to catch up economically while helping to protect the planet.

Readiness Index Ranking

  • The report also ranks 166 countries based on their readiness for frontier technologies using indicators like infrastructure, human capital, and regulatory environment.
  • India (46) remains the greatest overperformer, ranking 67 positions better than expected, followed by the Philippines (54 positions better) and Vietnam (44 better).
  • China is the most ready developing country, ranked 35, followed by Brazil (40), India (46), and South Africa (56).
  • China's lower-than-expected position is due to urban-rural disparities in internet coverage and broadband speed.
  • High-income economies such as the United States, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, and the Netherlands are the most ready for frontier technologies.
  • Countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa are the least ready to use, adopt, or adapt to frontier technologies and are at risk of missing current technological opportunities.