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emerging-economies
The term “emerging markets” was coined in 1981 at the International Finance Corporation when promoting the first mutual funding investments in developing countries. While the term is sometimes considered unhelpful, it is important to identify and define these markets. Emerging markets are a hot topic as they are predicted to surpass the US, German, and UK economies in the future.

There are three factors that distinguish an emerging market from a developed market. Firstly, rapid economic growth defines emerging markets. Great examples of emerging markets are Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS). In recent decades, these developing countries have boosted their large economies based on global capital, technology, and talent. The GDP growth rates of these countries have outpaced those of more developed economies, lifting millions out of poverty and creating new middle classes and large new markets for consumer products and services. The large labor pools of these countries give their economies a huge advantage over more developed economies.

The second factor that defines the emergence of a developing economy is how much competition it offers in comparison to developed markets. Along with the rapid pace of development, these countries pose serious competition to current dominant economies in developed countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy.

Lastly, emerging markets are often defined in terms of their financial situation and infrastructure. While their rapid growth and competitiveness are positive growth indicators, the amount of red-tape and inconsistencies involved in dealing with these markets marks them as emerging. Unfortunately, some argue that the corruption in these markets will halt them altogether despite other growth factors.

While the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China are well on their way to surpassing “emergence”, the predicted emerging economies of the future are Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa (CIVETs). According to John Bowler, director of Country Risk Service at the Economist Intelligence Unit, the sizeable populations of some of these countries and the wealth of natural resources in others, just might make them the economic boomers of the next decade.

– Kira Maixner

Source CNN , Forbes
Photo ACF

Oxfam Fair Trade
Coffee is the second most-traded commodity and one of the most consumed drinks around the world. The consumption of coffee is a universal business within its own, for its demand is incredibly high worldwide. Drinking coffee has become almost second nature to many who can afford it. American author and journalist, Sarah Vowell, says that she realized that drinking a mocha, although seemingly trivial, was in fact “to gulp down the entire history of the New World.” She continues on to say that the modern mocha is nothing less than a “bittersweet concoction of imperialism, genocide, invention, and consumerism served with whipped cream on top.”

Taken into consideration how big of a role coffee plays in people’s lives today, one would think that people would know where their coffee was coming from and what kind of conditions it was produced in. However, the truth is to the contrary because many people have no idea what conditions coffee producers undergo. Approximately 25 million farmers depend on coffee production/sales to make their living, and many of them live in poverty. The coffee market is prone to severe fluctuations due to changes in climate which in turn affect the growth patterns of coffee plants. Due to the longevity of the growth of coffee plants, producers cannot react quickly to changes in coffee demand. Thus, this is where smart consumers can help poor people, and in particular, coffee producers.

As smart informed consumers, people can buy certified fair trade coffee which basically means that farmers and coffee producers are paid a fair and stable price regardless of changing conditions. A recent Oxfam Australia survey reports that more than 85% of consumers want more fair trade products in their supermarkets, and 60% believe that their consumer decisions can make a difference in the lives of producers and farmers in less-developed countries. Marcial Valladolid, from CACVRA, which is a small producer organization in Peru, expressed how coffee cultivation used to disappoint him because the money he made was not remotely close to cover the cost of his coffee production. CACVRA uses its fair trade premium to “support and improve organic cultivation and certification.” By joining this cooperative, Marcel is content that he was able to receive some profit, and he is hopeful for a future with more fair trade.

It is no wonder that coffee was once described by Neil Gaiman as “sweet as sin,” taking into account all the producers and farmers horribly affected by our enjoyment of their produce. Majority of coffee producers live in developing countries including Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Mexico. Luckily, our enjoyment can come as a better price as the conditions can change because certified fair trade products are becoming increasingly available and accessible through independent grocers, major supermarkets, and retail stores. Thus, making the switch to becoming a smart consumer could not be any easier today. Make the switch today and change people’s lives.

– Leen Abdallah

Sources: AU News, Good Reads
Photo: Google, Google

cell_phone
USAID and Qualcomm announced a formal agreement to work to expand global technology and increase collaborative efforts in development.  Qualcomm, a San-Diego based telecommunications company, has been working with USAID in recent years to improve access to technology in developing countries. The formal agreement will give Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach Division the ability to carry out projects.

Those that have already benefited from USAID and Qualcomm’s projects are fishermen in Brazil, police officers in El Salvador, and health workers in the Philippines.  In Brazil, the joint project provided small-scale fisherman with mobile devices and applications to connect with buyers, track sales, and get weather updates. Qualcomm was able to equip police in high-crime neighborhoods in El Salvador with smart phones that allowed them to connect to a database to work to reduce crime. Collaboration in the Philippines helped rural health clinics establish electronic records.

USAID commended Qualcomm for being an innovative, nimble, and strategic global technology leader.  USAID and Qualcomm share a vision of how to address the challenges in the developing world. Among the current goals of the formal agreement are to close the mobile phone gender gap, expand access to broadband, reduce the negative effects of climate change, and connect small farmers to market data.  Projects in Africa and Asia are the top priority and future consideration will be given to other areas including Latin America.

The future of technology in developing nations is changing quickly and this is just more step in the right direction.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: UT San Diego
Photo: CIAT News

emerging markets
As the economy continues to expand, the stories of economic growth and development are shifting.  The new stars of emerging markets are beginning to rise and take the spotlight in the story of development.  Over the past decade, the most well-known stories of rising nations within emerging markets have been that of BRIC nations-Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Reporting double digit growth numbers over the past several years has catapulted them to the top of the emerging markets.  However, their growth is starting to level off and has fallen back into single digits.  They are more stable and sustainable in their growth and have paved the way for new stars to take the spotlight.

Head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley Investments Ruchir Sharma believes the BRIC nations are beginning a period of slow-down and their slower growth will leave room for other nations to take center stage.  The stories of the BRIC nations are remarkable. China’s double digit growth has turned the nation into a sustainable nation with a growing middle class.  This is a huge step in overall country development. The creation of a middle class provides additional opportunities for advancement and brings in outside investors to the nation who are interested in the increasing consumer spending capacity.

Who are the new stars?  Sharma says the nations to watch for are the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia, as well as parts of Latin America such as Peru, Chile, and Colombia. Political leaders in these countries are stable and have a strong understanding of economic reform. These nations have great potential to be the new emerging markets and double-digit growth producing countries.

The Philippines is one of the most cost competitive destinations of technology and business service centers. While India used to dominate the call-center world, the Philippines is fast becoming a strong competitor.  Indonesia has a strong commodity business to build economic strength and Thailand’s manufacturing sector continues to expand.

Beyond the potential new stars of emerging markets are several economies that have the ability to follow behind in the coming years. Nations like  Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka are beginning steps towards economic reform. According to Sharma, the winners of one decade are rarely winners in the next, but the emerging markets continue to be a strong factor in the global economy and a strong place for foreign investment. It will be a fascinating story to watch as the decade unfolds.

– Amanda Kloeppel
Source: Wall Street Journal
Photo: Avid Investor Group

Mato Grosso_opt
The country of Brazil, long known for its biologically-diverse rainforests and unique ecosystems, has been practicing the method of double cropping – or planting two crops per year instead of one – as a means of intensifying the amount of agricultural goods grown in a given area. Recently, much research has been centered on the state of Mato Grosso, known for its heavy use of the double cropping method and position as the undisputed hub of Brazil’s agricultural production area. The data gleaned thus far in regards to economic benefits have been nothing less than astounding, as there is mounting evidence that double cropping encourages economic development in Brazil.

Researchers at Brown University have been conducting extensive research into the GDP, educational infrastructure, and public sanitation of Mato Grossso in order to take a closer look at the ramifications of the agricultural program known as double cropping. Surprisingly, they found that the large production of soybean, cotton, and corn from the area resulted in huge economic opportunities for the residents of the Mato Grosso area. How are they linked? Double cropping encourages economic development in Brazil primarily due to the huge amounts of labor required to harvest, transport, and process the crops grown in area, leading to the low unemployment and high local investment absent from area’s that employ the single cropping method.

In regards to exactly how double cropping encourages economic development in Brazil, Associate Professor at Brown University Leah VanWey noted that the industry has created thousands of jobs, also noting that, “In the long run there isn’t much money in just growing things and selling them, but processing allows the local area and workers to retain more of the per-unit cost of the final product.”

Exiting new methods of agricultural development are being implemented and assessed across the globe, leading to innovative ways of encouraging growth and ameliorating local poverty levels. Furthermore, recent evidence showing that double cropping encourages economic development in Brazil should serve as a reason for continued support of agricultural aid agencies such as the FAO.

– Brian Turner

Source: Science Daily
Photo: Terra Project

India-spices-ITC-development

The International Trade Center (ITC) is a joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. Its mission is to build and promote businesses in developing countries, assist in becoming more competitive in global markets, speed economic development, and further the achievements of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It now has more than 40 years of hands-on trade and business experience in the developing world, and a very focused approach to export-led poverty reduction. Their slogan, “Export Impact for Good.”

For ITC, the “true story of development” is the small, low-cost project that aims to give poor people “a hand to get started on the ladder of success.” After a modest level of support and funding, they are on their own path to self-sufficient living, and their success is exponential in impact for the immediate community. Three examples:
• Lifestyle products, derived from a local plant of the Eastern Cape in South Africa, are helping create jobs in one of that country’s poorer regions. Expert help from ITC, funding from an innovative public-private partnership and guaranteed commitments from overseas markets, will raise some 1,000 local people out of poverty.
• Brazilian tourist resort provides job opportunities to surrounding, impoverished areas: like a low-cost, organic waste recycling project – based on a local invention, and the sale of products made by local communities – leading to a significant rise in incomes.
• In India, rural populations are being lifted out of poverty through a program of selling locally produced spices and aromatic herbs on the international market. In just four years, exports grew seven fold and the average income increased five fold, benefiting well over 2,000 people.
The ITC article “New Jobs for Poor Communities Through Trade” gives the full story of the above projects.
– Mary Purcell

Source: ITC
Photo: Independent.co.uk

dengue-mosquito
Compared to 2012, nearly three times as many Brazilians have been infected with dengue fever in 2013’s first seven weeks, according to health officials. The mosquito-borne disease has spread to over 200,000 people, whereas last year, there were roughly 70,000 reported infections. To make matters worse, the heavy levels of rainfall create beneficial conditions for mosquito breeding, leading experts to believe that the climate will add additional challenges for medical professionals.

This particular strain of dengue first appeared in Brazil in 2011, but dengue itself has been around far longer. However, immunity to one strain does not grant immunity to the three variants, so this relatively new form of the virus has the potential to run rampant.

Fortunately, Brazilian Health Minister Alexandre Padilha explains that fewer people have died as a result of this year’s dengue fever epidemic than last year despite the dramatic rise in infections, which demonstrates that “authorities were following the right strategies…extra training…has clearly paid off.”

Dengue fever presents flu-like symptoms; eradication efforts are centered around both the development of a vaccine, as well as containment tactics for mosquitos. An extremely popular and cost-effective measure for keeping mosquitos at bay is the implementation of mosquito nets: cheap, re-usable material to protect living quarters from the buzzing disease-carriers. Mosquito nets are already popular candidates for foreign aid funds, but more is always better when it comes to saving lives.

Jake Simon

Source: BBC
Photo: EMS Solutions

Rio20_opt

Earlier this week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 55 scientists from throughout the world met to discuss sustainable development solutions and how science can play a leading role in the fight against poverty. The goal is to explore the ways that science can help defeat such challenges faced by all human beings. Members of science academies who were involved in this meet are ones already involved in dealing with global warming, population growth, and evolution issues.

This meeting was organized most importantly to parallel the United Nation’s Millennium Goals of 2015 to end global poverty: “Based on the “Future We Want” document signed in Rio last June, the panel organized its meeting to find solutions for the welfare of mankind and for sustainable development.” Although industrialized developed countries were mainly prevalent to meet the Millennium Goals, recently there has been a need for input from developing nations as well.

According to the Brazilian representative of the U.N. Development Program, science’s role is to change the very path of development which would thereby lead the world to a better outcome. Thus, this meeting will elaborate on the ways that science reduces poverty.

– Leen Abdallah

Source: Global Post
Photo: Google

Extreme Poverty in Brazil President Dilma Rousseff
Last Tuesday, President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff increased the monthly stipend of people living below the poverty line to 70 reals or roughly $35 a month. Through its Bolsa Familia or Family Grant program, Rousseff’s administration has successfully managed to improve living conditions and lift 36 million people out of extreme poverty in Brazil. President Rousseff claims that “soon there will be no Brazilians steeped in extreme poverty.”

Founded by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2003, the monthly stipend program has provided financial assistance to people living in extreme poverty in Brazil, allowing for access to proper education, healthcare and the like. More than 48 million Brazilians, a quarter of the population, are registered to these social programs, costing the government 24 billion reals a year. This increased monthly stipend will affect 2.5 million people and will cost 800 million reals. Currently, there are 700,000 families still living in extreme poverty in Brazil that are not yet registered with government social programs. Rousseff’s administration will work to seek out these families.

The monthly stipend increase will come into effect on March 18. Also, Rousseff has added stipends for children and adolescents, farmers engaging in conservation practices, and people beginning technical training. The government is also now focusing on improved access to public services, extending school hours and availability to electricity, water, sewers and basic housing. Rousseff is expected to run for re-election in 2014 and her success against extreme poverty would work immensely towards her advantage.

Her new slogan for her fight against extreme poverty is: “The end of poverty is just beginning.”

– Rafael Panlilio

Source: The Guardian