The Focus Territori highlights Apulia’s important role in the economy of Southern Italy and identifies 5 areas of excellence in the region, which could become a springboard for the post-Covid recovery if they are successfully exploited.
The Apulian economy generates €76 billion in GDP with around 1.4 million people in employment, and is the second largest economy in Southern Italy after Campania. In the years leading up to the Covid emergency, the Apulian economy outperformed other areas of Southern Italy, and was substantially in line with that of the regions of Central Italy. The crisis triggered by the pandemic had a major impact on this performance, leading to a 10.8% contraction in regional GDP, more severe than the 8.9% contraction recorded at national level. This reduction has brought growth to a halt in a region whose economic model has significant critical issues, but which also has a potential that can be fully exploited in the post-Covid recovery.
The main critical issues concern labour market participation, the education system and the phenomena of social unrest in the area. However, these critical issues are accompanied by significant potential that distinguishes Apulia from other regions in southern Italy. In this area, the first factors to note relate to two features of the Apulian productive fabric, innovation and the presence of large companies. These specific features are enhanced by the potential of Apulia’s geographical location, it is one of the natural gateways to the Mediterranean for the whole country.
Finally, there are certain area excellences that Apulia is famous for far beyond national borders, which are a fundamental part of the production fabric’s potential. Namely:
In the coming years, institutions at different levels will be called upon to come up with measures to accelerate Apulia's emergence from the crisis and put the regional economy on a path of solid long-term growth. In this sense, initiatives for the logistics of people and goods will be particularly important, as well as those that encourage the full success of Special Economic Zones. Initiatives of this kind would have a positive cross-cutting impact on the productive fabric, jointly improving the potential and regional excellence that already see Apulia as a successful player on international markets and on which the region's ability to build competitiveness in future years will be based.