The tropics, historically seen as lagging temperate zones, are now growing faster than the rest of the world, both in terms of population and of gross domestic product. Traditional tropical knowledge needs to be adapted to the new environment, which requires a substantial improvement in managerial abilities and governance practices.
Many developing nations in the tropics are thus looking for best practice tropical knowledge and innovation appropriate to their economies.
Opportunity exists for university, research institutions, not-for-profit entities, industry and key economic and business agencies to collaborate to form stronger strategic alliances and to develop a clear framework for mutual knowledge applicable to diverse local conditions.
Coordinated responses to major opportunities and service solutions can be delivered to Governments internationally as a result of closer working relationships between tropical businesses and industry, on the one hand, and academic and research institutions, on the other.
The world's Tropics in numbers*
- The Tropics covers only 40% of the world’s surface area, but hosts approximately 80% of its terrestrial biodiversity
- The tropical world’s economy is growing 20% faster than the Rest of the World and many tropical nations are important contributors to world trade, politics and innovation
- The Tropics is home to 40% of the world’s population, and 55% of the world’s children under the age of five years old
- By 2050, some 50 per cent of the world’s population and close to 60% of the world’s children are expected to reside in the Tropics.
- Consistent with rapid economic growth since 1980 the Tropics’ share of global energy generation has more than doubled, from 7% to 15%. The Tropics produces 23% of global renewable energy, mostly through hydroelectricity generation.
- The Tropics has outperformed the Rest of the World in terms of economic growth over the past 30 years. The Tropics is now estimated to represent 18.7% of global economic activity, up from 14.5% in 1980.
Challenges for the Tropical Regions
Developing a tropical knowledge is the key to greater diversification and it can be achieved by building the relationships required, packaging up tropical knowledge and solutions to meet the demands of tropical regions.
Tropical knowledge and expertise encompasses a vast range of sectors including tropical health, education, agriculture, biotechnology, agribusiness and governance.
Tropical Knowledge will diversify the economy and drive productivity in existing industries including tourism, manufacturing and professional services. It will also boost productivity and innovation.