Recent government reforms and a pool of highly-educated executives have set India up to be the fastest growing Asian country in the next few years, international economy expert Mario Weitz said.
Speaking at Citywire's Latin America forum in Montevideo on Thursday, Weitz, who has been an economist for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, said India a 'star country' set to outpace the rest of Asia's economies.
According to Weitz, India is expected to grow at 7% this year while China is expected to expand 6%, reversing a trend in which the Southeast Asian nation had fallen behind its larger neighbor.
‘What’s India’s secret? They have the best engineers in the world, the best IT people and the best managers. Did you know that 20% of general managers at banks and multinationals are Indian? It’s the highest cast, which studies in Oxford, Cambridge and London School of Economics.
‘They also speak English well because they were a [British] colony, they’re given to management and prime minister [Narendra] Modi has done positive reforms, liberalizing the economy, privatizing - which is what Brazil should do,’ Weitz added.
Overall, Weitz sees Asia as the region that's set to grow the most, though he raised concerns about the status of BRIC, the bloc made up by Brazil, Russia, India and China.
India and Brazil were outranked by Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico in the 2017 World Bank report looking at how easy it is for entreprenuers to set up new business around the world.
Furthermore, he highlighted Russia’s and China’s approach to government as an issue.
‘Westerners, following Winston Churchill, we say that democracy is the least worst system. But the Russians and the Chinese say: “We don’t care if it’s a democracy or not, as long as we’re feared and as long as the economy is going well.”’
Turning to Latin America, Weitz said Brazil might benefit as alternative energy sources pick up steam. He added that countries such as the UK are heavily taxing fossil fuels and even China, which is responsible for much of the world’s pollution, is turning to nuclear power and clean energy.
‘Oil will disappear in 40 years and it will be replaced by clean energy,’ he said. ‘And countries in Latin America such as Chile, Brazil, Bolivia and other African countries have new minerals [that could be used in clean energies], and Brazil is a big producer. Brazil, if it has good economic policies, it has a possibility to progress.’