Last Sunday, February 10th, Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in India and second richest in Asia, interviewed with Fareed Zakaria in the first television interview he’d given in almost a decade. Ambani is Chairman and CEO of India’s largest company, Reliance Industries, which focuses on petrochemicals, refining, and oil & gas. In the interview, he comments on his views regarding the state of the global economy.
Ambani is optimistic that an economic recovery is set to emerge in the US, citing increasing independence from foreign imports of energy which he predicts will come in “the next five or seven years.” The cause of this recovery is a fundamental transformation in the energy scene taking place in the US. The shift to “non-conventional energy in shale oil and gas,” he says, is not just of great benefit to the US, but across the world as well.
Regarding the economic growth in India, Ambani is “bullish,” commenting that economic growth in India is “the aspirations of a billion people. And ours is a country where all the billion count.” He calls it a “bottom-up story,” noting that the country will adjust with how the rest of the international community performs but that India is on a “long-term growth trajectory.”
When questioned on the problem of inequality in India, Ambani stated that it was a problem not specific to India but present all across the world. He went on to say that businesses have an obligation to alleviate this inequality by investing in ordinary Indians. Reliance, he says, has created wealth for India through the opportunities that were provided to them by their country. This, he says, is “the process of creating wealth.”
“Income comes from opportunity… Once you create opportunity, wealth comes.”
– Rafael Panlilio