Junta de Andalucía, Unicaja, Harvard and Oliver Wyman seal a pioneering collaboration in Europe to boost economic growth and job creation

The collaboration will be based on Andalusia's unique capabilities: the talent of its workers, geography and climate, infrastructure and logistics centers

01 JUL 2024

9 Min reading

The Junta de Andalucía, through the Regional Ministry of Employment, Enterprise and Self-Employment, will collaborate with a research project promoted by Unicaja, in collaboration with the Growth Lab of Harvard University and the consulting firm Oliver Wyman, to design a roadmap that will allow Andalusia to grow in a sustainable way, taking advantage of the unique assets that the region has. Under the name "CREA Project" (Crecimiento Económico y Empleo en Andalucía, Economic Growth and Employment in Andalusia), this initiative has a dual objective: on the one hand, to diagnose the factors that currently prevent greater economic growth in the region and, on the other hand, an analysis that defines which products and services should be promoted in different regions to achieve greater economic growth, higher productivity, and better opportunities for Andalusian companies and citizens. The project will focus on the labor market situation, the impact on job creation, as well as future trends and the identification of emerging sectors.


The four parties involved will collaborate to promote this analysis of the diversity and capacity of Andalusia's economic activities to identify areas of specialization and opportunities for economic development, with a special focus on green growth. The results obtained in the framework of the CREA Project will include a practical roadmap, aimed at diversifying the Andalusian economy and extracting the maximum return for the region.


To this end, Unicaja has, in addition to its own specialists from Analistas Económicos de Andalucía, experts in economic growth from Harvard University's Growth Lab research center, and experts in public policy and economic/financial analysis from the strategic consulting firm Oliver Wyman to develop a growth strategy for the region. "Andalusia's growth will have a positive impact on the development of its business fabric and society as a whole. In order to grow, decisions must be made based on data and, to this end, we consider it positive that our team of analysts, with the participation of the Junta de Andalucía, will work together with experts in sustainable growth from Harvard and Oliver Wyman teams," said the CEO of the financial institution, Isidro Rubiales.


At this point, he highlighted Unicaja's social commitment and its deep-rootedness with the regions where it operates, specifically Andalusia, a region in which it has deep roots and with which it maintains close ties. "Our objective is to continue serving and supporting the society of which we are a part, the people and the productive fabric; for this reason, we are confident that this project will contribute to the Andalusian Community being able to compete in all areas at an international level," Rubiales remarked.


The Junta de Andalucía, through the Regional Ministry of Employment, Enterprise and Self-Employment, has joined the collaboration of this initiative which, as stated by Regional Minister Rocío Blanco, "is going to be a very useful tool to detect emerging sectors of the Andalusian labor market". "The public sector must be at the service of citizens and make decisions responsibly. That is why we are in favor of initiatives like this one, where the public sector, the private sector and academia join forces for the same cause: sustainable economic growth that has an impact on improving the living conditions of our citizens," the regional minister emphasized. "We send a clear message of unity and stability in our region, both to Andalusian society and to the national and international business world: Andalusia is a land rich in skills and talent, with institutional stability, where it is worth investing," she said.


Harvard University's Growth Lab research center is dedicated to research on economic growth and the public policies that can support it in countries and regions around the world. Through its research and teaching activities, the Growth Lab provides innovative ideas, methods and tools that help professionals, policymakers and academics understand how to accelerate economic growth and expand economic opportunities around the world.


It has a multidisciplinary team of more than 40 professors, researchers and associates, and is directed by Professor Ricardo Hausmann. Hausmann is former Chief Economist of the Inter-American Development Bank, former President of the International Monetary Fund Development Committee and of the World Bank, and former Minister of Planning of Venezuela before the arrival of President Chávez. In 2009, already as a professor at Harvard University, he developed a pioneering methodology that determines why countries grow. "It has always been thought that it was technology or innovation in an exogenous way that made countries grow, but this is not so... We have shown that it is the talent and capabilities of citizens, the dissemination and transmission of knowledge, and the processes of productive diversification, added to policies, regulations and infrastructure, that make a country or region grow," said Professor Hausmann. "Andalusia is the perfect example of a region with a lot of potential to grow in those areas and industries that will be key in the coming years: it has talent, unique geographical conditions, connectivity with all of Spain and the EU, regulatory stability, infrastructure and potential for the development of green industries - we are tremendously excited to be able to contribute all our capabilities to make this possible," he said.


Oliver Wyman, a global strategic consulting firm, and specifically its Government and Public Institutions department, presented the idea to Unicaja, an institution with which it has already collaborated on other occasions. "Public-private collaboration, including the academic institution, is essential for societies to move forward. We have been working in Andalusia and with Unicaja for many years and we have seen how Andalusian society is resilient and an example in cross-cutting collaborations to overcome problems and shine. We will put all our technical capabilities to make this project a success," said Pablo Campos, president of Oliver Wyman for Spain and Portugal. For his part, the head of Government and Public Institutions, Gonzalo Arana, who collaborates regularly as a visiting researcher at Harvard, pointed out that "the challenges we face as a society are evolving faster and faster and have a direct impact on citizens: climate change, artificial intelligence, reindustrialization, digitalization... These are issues that require a deep technical analysis and the will of the entire civil society to overcome them".


It is the first time that a collaboration of this kind has been carried out in Europe, bringing together the public sector, the financial sector, the private sector and an academic institution. It is also the first that Harvard University's Growth Lab has carried out in the European Union. The parties expect to have progress on the project before the end of the year.


About Unicaja


Unicaja is one of the main banks in the Spanish financial system and a listed company in the Ibex 35, with a solid base of four million customers. In fact, it is a reference entity in six autonomous communities, its regions of origin (Andalusia, Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León and Extremadura), in addition to being present in other markets such as Madrid, Ceuta and Melilla, where it maintains a traditional presence.


It is characterized by its universal banking model and sustainable business model focused on retail business, under a prudent management of its commercial strategy and risk profile, socially responsible, which places quality, innovation and digital transformation as a priority, and incorporates technology to improve customer service and the efficiency of the entity.


About Oliver Wyman


Oliver Wyman is a global leader in strategy consulting. With offices in more than 70 cities in 30 countries, it combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management and organizational transformation. The firm has more than 7,000 professionals around the world who help clients optimize their businesses, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational development to seize opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, listed on the New York Stock Exchange NYSE: MMC. For more information visit www.oliverwyman.com or follow us on X @OliverWyman.


About the Regional Ministry of Employment, Enterprise and Self-Employment   


The Regional Ministry of Employment, Enterprise and Self-Employment of the Junta de Andalucía, in accordance with the provisions of the Decree of the President 10/2022, of 25 July, has been assigned the autonomous powers of coordination and promotion of the Andalusian Employment Service, with special attention to labor guidance and intermediation, as well as labor relations, both individual and collective; the prevention of labor risks, health and safety at work; the policies favoring equal treatment and opportunities in the labor field; the functional competences over the Labor and Social Security Inspection in employment matters; the vocational training for employment; the encouragement and promotion of self-employment; the social economy; the promotion of the capacities of the Andalusian companies and the incentive policies for employment, and the competences related to commerce and craftsmanship.


It also relies on the Andalusian Labor Market Permanent Prospection System (Argos Observatory), of the Andalusian Employment Service, for the analysis and study of the behavior of the Andalusian labor market.


About the Harvard University Growth Lab


The Growth Lab (GL) is a research group at Harvard University based at the John F. Kennedy School of Government (HKS). The Growth Lab is a leader in developing knowledge about economic growth and the policies that can help foster sustainable and inclusive growth processes. It has a multidisciplinary team of more than 40 faculty, researchers and associates, and is led by Professor Ricardo Hausmann. In addition to its academic research, the GL conducts collaborative research activities with local actors in order to understand the particularities of growth processes in each context, identify and address the main constraints to growth, and contribute to catalyzing productive opportunities. For more information: https://growthlab.hks.harvard.edu/ or follow us on X @HarvardGrwthLab.


About Analistas Económicos de Andalucía


Analistas Económicos de Andalucía, a research company of Grupo Unicaja, aims to promote and develop socioeconomic research. Through studies, analysis and activities, it aims to promote a better understanding of the reality of the Andalusian Autonomous Community and its evolution in the national and international context.

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