Buoyant and Proud of It – Galicia’s Economic Success story

It is one of Europe’s leading success stories and conversely is one of Europe’s least well known success stories.

Now the above line might sound fairly enigmatic but what we’re actually referring to is actually the economic development that has emerged from the autonomous region of the Galicia in north-western Spain and the last decade.

There is an increasing degree of optimism throughout the region that is now filtering down from an expanding and buoyant economy actually down to the man in the street. The figures in question certainly are impressive and cannot be disputed.

Basically the story is this. Throughout the last decade of these years gross domestic product grew by a staggering 28.8%. Now this has to be compared to comparable growth throughout the rest of Spain for this period of 26.9%.

Both these figures are good when you compare them against the average growth of the European Union’s GDP of 20.8%.

How has this come about? Well the bottom line is that it’s come about as a result of extremely hard work and quite astute and inspired leadership from the top.

Nobody has ever said this would be an easy route to take but in an interview in 2002, but then president of the regional government, Manuel Fraga described the Galicians as “the people of Galicia are known for being hard-working, honest people who care deeply about the education of their sons and daughters” he went on to say further “we know where we came from and we know we are part of something over which we can be proud.”

Being proud is something they certainly they can be.

“Galicia’s economy is a thoroughly modern one with the distribution of the production sector similar to that of the rest of Spain” Mr Fraga went on to say “services account for about 7% of gross domestic product with industry accounting for around 24%, construction accounts for almost 8% and agriculture and fishing account for well over 6%”

At present it is estimated that there are over 172,000 businesses located in Galicia from small, family-owned enterprises to several multinational companies such as the clothing giant Inditex which owns the retail chain Zara amongst others.

As well as dealing with an economy that has moved from very much of rural and agricultural one to very much a fully fledged modern economy the Galicians authorities are not content to rest on their laurels.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the whole approach towards research and development. Galicia was one of the first of Spain 17 autonomous regions to have a law covering Research and Development and the first sign of that was a government-sponsored plan to cover technological research, development and innovation which ran from 2000 to 2005 in which approximately $74 million was invested annually.

They have come a long way in Galicia, they know they have and they are aware of the fact but they are so aware of the fact that they also have a long way to go but are fiercely determined and proud of the fact that they will get there.

Watch this space.