BRICS combined GDP will surpass US, western Europe by 2020: UN

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) The combined output of BRICS countries will surpass the aggregate GDP of the US, Canada and other European nations by 2020, said a UN report.

“By 2020, the combined economic output of three leading developing countries alone – Brazil, China and India – will surpass the aggregate production of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States,” said the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2013 Human Development Report, titled “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World.”

The South Asia launch of the 2013 report here Thursday was organised jointly by the UNDP and the International Centre for Human Development (IC4HD), which is a partnership between the Indian government, the Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, and UNDP.

The report shows that the growth phenomenon goes well beyond the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and more than 40 developing countries have made greater human development gains in recent decades than would have been predicted.

“The rise of the South is unprecedented in its speed and scale,” the report says. “Never in history have the living conditions and prospects of so many people changed so dramatically and so fast.”

The rise of the South, a term denoting developing countries, is radically reshaping the 21st century world with developing nations driving economic growth, lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty, and bringing billions more into a new global middle class, it said.

By 2030, more than 80 percent of the world’s middle class and 70 percent of total consumption expenditure will come from the South.

“The rise of the South highlights the unprecedented linking of the developing world. The rise of South-South trade, while the share of North-North trade has declined, reflects the realignment in world trade in context of the profound shift in global dynamics,” said Ajay Chibber, UNDP regional director for Asia and the Pacific, on the occasion.

The South is increasingly interdependent and interconnected. Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Mexico now have more daily social media traffic than any country except the US.

Regarding India, the report said its government by investing in world-class tertiary education, building human capabilities and opening up trade and investment has allowed the country to capitalise on its stock of skilled workers in technology.

These industries were generating $70 billion in export earning by 2011-12, and similar stories can be told for India’s pharmaceuticals, automobile, chemical and service industries, it added.

India has averaged nearly five percent income growth a year over 1990-2012 and per capita income is still low, around $3,400 in 2012, it said

India’s performance in accelerating human development is less impressive than its growth performance, the 2013 report said. India’s position in Human Development Index was 136 out of 187 countries in 2012. It ranked 134 in 2011.

Complimenting the Human Development Reports for introducing a multidimensional perspective on development, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that the commission had introduced 25 “monitoring indicators” for the 12th Plan (2012-16), including categories like education, maternal mortality rate, infant mortality rate, and organised sector employment

“The Human Development Report focuses the debate into an area where judgements are not unidimensional,” Ahluwalia said in his special address on ‘The Rise of the South: Prospects for India’.

On India not having such a catalytic role in the sphere of trading with its neighbours, like China has done for instance, Ahluwalia said: “We ought to be a lot more open as a market to our neighbouring countries. With tapping into a global market being a key factor in the South’s emergence, in a reciprocal situations others also expect to tap into our (Indian) market.”

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