NEW DELHI – The key role of emerging and developing countries – including India, China, and Brazil – in sustaining world economic growth was brought into sharp focus during the recent global crisis, and has been well documented. This trend is likely to continue in 2011 and beyond.
Indeed, the IMF expects that emerging and developing economies will grow by 6% in 2010 and 6.3% in 2011. Emerging-market economies have not only cushioned the global impact of the recent crisis, but have also helped industrialized countries reverse the recessionary trend of 2008-2009. But recovery remains fragile in the developed world, with unemployment remaining at crisis levels.
But, while emerging economies are proving to be drivers of global demand, the right mix of government initiatives and policies is still required to ensure that they continue to provide the impetus for faster world economic recovery in the short term and be the engines of sustainable growth in the medium and long term. There is also a strong need for supporting long-term capital flows to emerging economies to stimulate investment further, particularly in their infrastructure sectors, thereby injecting much-needed additional demand into the global economy.
In this regard, another important development is the increasing number of emerging-market middle-class consumers, their growing purchasing power, and thus their potential impact on global demand. According to one estimate, middle-class consumers in a dozen emerging economies today wield annual purchasing power totaling approximately $6.9 trillion.
Indeed, projections from McKinsey & Company suggest that the purchasing power of this rising middle class in emerging markets may rise to $20 trillion over the next decade – twice the current level of consumption in the United States. The four biggest emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRICs) – are large producers and consumers of goods and services, and will also be important in shaping the pace, direction, and sustainability of global economic growth.