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DHL releases Global Connectedness Index

DHL recently released the first DHL Global Connectedness Index (GCI), a detailed country-by-country analysis of the flows that connect the world. The s...

Freddie Pierce
|Nov 17|magazine10 min read

DHL recently released the first DHL Global Connectedness Index (GCI), a detailed country-by-country analysis of the flows that connect the world. The study indicates that globalization is still not as advanced as most people believe and that continued economic integration could spur global gross domestic product gains of five percent or more.

GCI ranks 125 countries according to the depth and breadth of their integration into the world economy and also examines the relationship between global connectedness and welfare. The study documents that global connectedness has enormous room to expand, even among the most “connected” countries.

The GCI study was unveiled against the backdrop of the APEC CEO Summit and Leaders’ Week in Honolulu, a global summit where heads of state and business leaders meet annually to discuss international economic issues. The study was commissioned by DHL and conducted by world-renowned global business strategist and economist, Pankaj Ghemawat, Professor of Global Strategy at the IESE Business School, Barcelona.

The study was conducted by world-renowned global business strategist and economist, Pankaj Ghemawat, Professor of Global Strategy at the IESE Business School, Barcelona.

“Our research shows that global economic integration is not as deep as perceived. Therefore, we see untapped potential for growth for each country and globally,” Ghemawat said.  “Increasing global connectedness is likely to spur further growth by adding trillions of dollars to global gross domestic product.”

The 2011 GCI found that the 10 most connected countries are the Netherlands, Singapore, Ireland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, Hong Kong (China) and Malta. The diversity of the leading countries is even greater in the top 50 list, which includes representatives from all six continents.

These patterns indicate that the benefits of connectedness are accessible to a broad range of countries, not just trading hubs that lead many other globalization indices.

“The positive impact of global connectedness on world prosperity will continue to be of great importance. The misgivings some political leaders have about increasing global integration are misplaced; its benefits far outweigh the potential downsides,” said Ghemawat.

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Unlike existing indices, the GCI analyzes not only the depth of countries' cross-border interactions but also their geographic breadth – distinguishing countries that are truly connected across the globe from those with deep ties only to a small set of partner countries. Additionally, it is based exclusively on hard quantitative data.

Roger Crook, chief executive officer, DHL Global Forwarding, Freight was particularly excited with the depth of the report.

“This research provides evidence that a connected world is a better world, in terms of global welfare and individual development. The free trade of products and services contributes significantly to global prosperity,” Crook said. “The data findings of DHL’s study will likely be of benefit to corporate as well as political and economic leaders as they shape business and trade strategies.

“By calibrating how truly connected we are, countries can identify opportunities and the channels through which they can improve their prosperity.”

The DHL Global Connectedness Index 2011 examines data on 10 different types of international flows, covering the categories of trade, capital, information and people, over the years from 2005 to 2010.

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Edited by Kevin Scarpati