The Great Debate UK
President Putin recently noted that Russia has emerged from the global financial crisis in a stronger position than before, and that average wages will increase by 60% by the year 2020. Traditionally, many people think of Russia as a provider of natural resources, and increasingly as a safe pair of hands for mega-events, such as the upcoming Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, the Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2014, and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Today the Russian economy is the sixth largest in the world, with an output which may potentially exceed US$ 2 trillion in 2012. Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 4.2 per cent in 2011, making the country the third fastest growing economy after China and India.
I take a keen interest in how policy-makers and businesses are finding economic solutions to meet societal challenges, and I hope global business leaders and policymakers will look to the city of Ekaterinburg as a model for growth.
Ekaterinburg has moved from traditional industrial production to a specialisation in science and technology. This shift has led to a rise in GDP of the surrounding region from 20.7 billion Roubles in 2009 to a forecasted 34.3 billion Roubles in 2012. Capitalising on existing industrial expertise taught in the 16 universities around Ekaterinburg, the priority is to turn innovative research into ready-for-market products and services. Business initiatives such as the Titanium Valley Special Economic Zone have been set up close to Ekaterinburg, at a government cost of more than 50 billion Roubles, to attract foreign investment and expertise. Global technology leaders such as Boeing, Rolls Royce and Goodrich have recently set-up shop in the SEZ, and the wider region now hosts 400 joint ventures, involving cross-border capital from 64 countries and input from 300 representative offices of foreign companies.
Come back Mr Fukuyama, all is forgiven.
In his 1992 book "The End of History and the Last Man", American political scientist Francis Fukuyama famously argued that all states were moving inexorably towards liberal democracy. His thesis that democracy is the pinnacle of political evolution has since been challenged by the violent eruption of radical Islam as well as the economic success of authoritarian countries such as China and Russia.
Now a study by Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital into the link between economic wealth and democracy seems to back Fukuyama.
Walking past Apple's sleek shop along London's Regent Street on Sunday, my wife asked me what I wanted for Father's Day.
"An iPad?" I ventured, half-jokingly.
"Are you sure you want one? Don't you care how they're made?" came her disapproving reply.
from Global Investing:
Moscow-based investment bank Renaissance Capital also expects this segment of the demography to spur politically risky pension reforms.
from Davos Notebook:
Jim O'Neill, the Goldman Sachs economist who coined the term BRICs back in 2001, is adding four new countries to the elite club of emerging market economies. But does his new edifice have the same solid foundations?
In future, the BRIC economies of Brazil, Russia, China and India will be merged with those of Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey and South Korea under the banner “growth markets,” O'Neill told the Financial Times.
Some eye-catching numbers from Standard Bank out today on the influence of BRICs countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- on Africa.
First off, the bank says the global recession and its recovery have been nourishing these so-called South-South ties. But it is all now ready to take off. The bank estimates:
In its May economic outlook, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development projected upward growth outlooks for BRIC countries Brazil, Russia, India and China — the world’s four largest emerging economies.
Strong growth in those economies is helping to pull other countries out of recession, the OECD said. The Paris-based organisation projects that China’s GDP growth will exceed 11 percent for 2010, and anticipates that India’s real GDP growth will be 8.3 percent. Russia‘s GDP growth is expected to be 5.5 percent, and Brazil‘s is projected at 6.5 percent. By comparison, the OECD projects that the Euro area will see 1.5 percent real GDP growth, while the UK will see a 2.2 percent growth.
Amid jitters about uncertainty in the financial markets over the past 16 months, many investors have continued to look toward the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China, which by 2050 are expected to be wealthier than most current major economic powers.
In all four countries, GDP has more than doubled since 1998, and in China and India it has trebled.
from Global Investing:
Some fascinating data about the growing power of emerging markets, particularly the BRICs, was on display at the OECD's annual investment conference in Paris this week. Not the least of it came from MIGA, the World Bank's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, which tries to help protect foreign direct investors from various forms of political risk.
MIGA has mainly focused on encouraging investment into developing countries, but a lot of its latest work is about investment from emerging economies.
from Global Investing:
It may end up sounding like a famous ball-point pen maker, but an argument is being made that Goldman Sach's famous marketing device, the BRICs, should really be the BICs. Does Russia really deserve to be a BRIC, asks Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, in an article for Foreign Policy.
Åslund, who is also co-author with Andrew Kuchins of "The Russian Balance Sheet", reckons the Russia of Putin and Medvedev is just not worthy of inclusion alongside Brazil, India and China in the list of blue-chip economic powerhouses. He writes: