The Sign of the Times
The Frontline of Change
Data and Resources
Publications & Reports
Transforming Education Through Technology is a Key to Underpinning Human Security and Progress
Lessons from the Russian Invasion of Ukraine in 2022 The West’s Opportunity to Reset the World Order
Lessons from the Russian Invasion of Ukraine in 2022 Moving the World Beyond War
The Sign of the Times in a Decade of Change: Analysis, Insights and Foresight
India’s Battle Against the Coronavirus
After spreading to virtually every part of the world and ravaging several large countries including China, the US and most of Western Europe, the Coronavirus
The Need for Conscious Capitalism
A brief discussion with Michael Gelb, best-selling author, about what businesses and investors can and should do to make capitalism more conscious and creative
Addressing India’s Literacy Challenge
A brief discussion with Sourav Banerjee, India Country Director for Room to Read, a global non-profit organisation whose mission is to tackle childhood illiteracy
Revolution and the Information Revolution
A brief discussion with Jon Miller, the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Digital Media Group and Chief Digital Officer for News Corporation
Plant for the Planet
Greater Pacific Capital talks to 15 year old Felix Finkbeiner who at the age of nine developed the idea of Plant-for-the-Planet
India: Where China was 10 Years Ago, Not all Emerging Markets are the Same?
Over the last 18 months the conventional wisdom that the next wave of global growth would be driven by emerging markets, and the “BRIC” countries in particular, has been turned on its head
The Enrichment of India’s Farming Community is the key to Adding US$4.3 trillion to Indian GDP
In 1961, India was on the brink of famine. Shortages all over the country had caused the government to import major food grains from other countries and with over 40 percent of India’s GDP supported by the agricultural sector at the time, there were grave concerns over the human impact on the country’s impoverished population
Strengthening India’s Growth Multiple in the Global Slowdown
India, the world’s fastest growing major economy, has been one of the few bright spots in an increasingly volatile world that has seen global risk rising.
Realising India’s demographic dividend: The People Determine Success
India has the largest potential labour force in the world with over 850m people who are of working age. Its current labour force of 500m is far below its potential but still greater than the combined forces of Japan, the European Union and the United States
India-International: How India’s Links to the World Create Value and Drive Development
There has been much discussion about the “India Story” and the key drivers of the world’s second most populous nation’s gradually accelerating growth path. The conventional wisdom is that India’s growth is being driven by its burgeoning young working age population (the “demographic dividend”) which is creating a growing middle class with increasing purchasing power driving India’s rise.
India Wide Open – Transforming India Now for 2040
In 1991, India opened its economy to the rest of the world and reversed decades of slow and insular growth implementing a series of far-ranging reforms. There have been ups and downs in the years since; today however, a little over 25 years later
India’s Journey to a US$5tn Economy:Growth Beyond Policy
India’s Journey to a US$5tn Economy: Growth Beyond Policy As the world’s fastest growing major economy, India’s GDP is on a path to overtake the United States’ and become the world’s second largest (behind China) by 2030 . It took India fifty years following independence from British rule to scale to a US$1 trillion economy in 2007.
India’s Rise: Growth Scenarios
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the start of his second term has laid out a vision of economic growth for India that would see the country’s GDP nearly double from US$3tn today to US$5tn within the next five years. Achieving this target will require a GDP growth of approximately 8%, substantially higher than India’s current growth, but well within its growth potential of 10% or more at this stage in its growth trajectory.
Digital Shock: India’s Challenges are its Opportunity to Lead in Tech
Over the past two decades, India has emerged as a market leader in providing information technology services to the world and will likely maintain this position in the coming years. More importantly, the coming decades will also see India apply digital technology to solve various issues it is facing, potentially leapfrogging older western models with new low-cost ones…
Digital Shock: India’s Opportunity to Create a New Healthcare System and Save US$50bn
The provision of modern healthcare to 1.3bn people is one of the biggest challenges facing India today and a priority for its government. Earlier this month the finance ministry made two flagship policy announcements aimed towards improving healthcare coverage in the country
Restructuring the Nation’s Financial Sector for 10%+ Growth
Given its favourable demographics and other resources, India has the inherent drivers to sustain 7-8% growth over the medium to long term and the potential to achieve 10%. An India that can sustainably harness its core assets and create new ones has the potential to emerge as one of the key drivers of growth and stability in a world faced with increasing global economic and geopolitical uncertainty.
Selected news that makes the difference
RBI Increases Key Lending Rate by 35 bps, Pegs GDP Growth at 6.8%.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India increased the repo rate by 35 bps to 6.25%. The focus on inflation control continues to bring down inflation, first below 6% and then closer to the 4% target.
India, Germany Sign Mobility Agreement to Make Travel Easier Between Countries.
India and Germany agreed to pursue further cooperation on education and qualifications, particularly the establishment of digital preparatory courses that Indian students can enrol in before beginning their university courses in Germany.
UK Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch Visits India for 6th Round of FTA talks, 1st Since July.
Badenoch met her counterpart minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal in person for the first time to strengthen ties between the two countries and reinvigorate talks on an ambitious bilateral trade deal.
India Increasingly Viable Investment Destination: EIU.
India’s business environment is now competitive with that of China and South-east Asia and the country could attract more foreign investments, the Economist Intelligence Unit said in a report. Improvements in India’s business environment and progress in bilateral trade deals make it an increasingly viable investment destination.
India-focused Funds Sitting on Highest-ever Unallocated Corpus of US$12.9 Billion.
India-focused private equity and venture capital (PE/VC) players are sitting on unallocated capital of US$12.88 billion – the highest since at least 2016. Indian start-ups are in a unique position, especially with China now falling off the investors' list as the most preferred nation.
India Widens Global Lead in Research and Development FDI.
India has seen a massive increase of FDI into research and development (R&D) in 2022, as multinationals seek to increase their technical talent base and diversify their innovation activities away from China. The country attracted as many foreign R&D projects as China, US and UK combined in 2022.
The Month Through India's Eyes
Spotlight on the key monthly news events shaping media coverage in India
Media coverage in the world this month covered Taliban rulers ordering an indefinite ban on university education for the country’s women and four-decade high inflation levels causing a cost-of-living crisis in the UK and Europe.
Taliban Rulers Ordering an Indefinite Ban on University Education for the Country’s Women
Media coverage from around the world was overwhelmingly critical of the blanket ban on education for women and other decisions banishing women from public life in Afghanistan. The return of public executions and floggings as punishments in keeping with Sharia law, has belied hopes that this Taliban regime would be different from the one of 1996-2001.
An article in Financial Tribune discussed how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the Taliban’s order as inhumane and un-Islamic. “There is no such thing in our religion. No one should define any ban like that based on Islam. Islam does not accept such a thing. On the contrary, we are members of a religion that says 'seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave’… Turkey initiated an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which called on the Afghan interim government to review its ban on women's education and working in educational and non-government organisations. The OIC also decided to send a religious delegation led by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) to emphasise that women's and girls' access to all levels of education, including university level, is a fundamental right in keeping with the teachings of the “noble Islamic shariah”. Erdogan said the Turkish foreign ministry as well as himself "will personally follow up on" the state of women's education in Afghanistan and would not leave it unchecked.”
An article in PBS explored how despite the global backlash, the minister of higher education in the Taliban government defended his decision to ban women from universities “In an interview with Afghan television, Nida Mohammad Nadim pushed back against the widespread international condemnation, including from Muslim-majority countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. Nadim said that foreigners should stop interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs… Discussing the matter for the first time in public, Nadim said the ban issued earlier this week was necessary to prevent the mixing of genders in universities and because he believes some subjects being taught violated the principles of Islam. He said the ban was in place until further notice.”
Finally, an article in AlJazeera analysed how the Taliban’s anti-education edicts will harm Afghan society as a whole. “The recent edict to ban women from higher education in Afghanistan is not only a blow to those directly affected but to all of Afghan society because it further erodes the little hope for progress remaining in the country… It is not only Afghans affected by these policies who are starting to question the government’s stance on women’s education. There is also discontent among some high-ranking Taliban officials as those working in relevant ministries found themselves unable to offer anything to people demanding answers and solutions.”
Four Decade High Inflation Levels Causing a Cost-of-Living Crisis in the UK and Europe
The cost of living is climbing at an exceptionally fast pace across the OECD, with inflation in most OECD countries reaching levels not seen in the last four decades and the UK's cost of living is the most affected of advanced economies. Global media commentary sought to highlight the implications of the crisis.
An article in European Parliament discussed how Europeans are concerned by the crisis and expect additional EU measures. “The rising cost of living is the most pressing worry for 93% of Europeans, finds the latest European Parliament Eurobarometer survey. Meanwhile, support for the EU remains stable at a high level and citizens expect the EU to continue working on solutions to mitigate the effects of the crises… Citizens expect the EU to continue working on solutions to mitigate the compounding effects of the consecutive crises that have hit the continent. High support for the EU is based on the experience of past years, with the EU demonstrating a remarkable capacity to unite and to deploy effective measures. For now, citizens are not satisfied by the actions taken either at national or at EU level. Only a third of Europeans express satisfaction with measures taken by their national governments or the EU to tackle the rising cost of living.”
An article in The Scotsman cited a new research that shows families across the UK have only experienced half of the lost income and that the biggest impact of dramatically falling living standards is yet to hit. “New analysis from the Resolution Foundation think-tank suggests the average household across the country will be left £2,100 worse off by the end of the next financial year. After housing costs, the typical income for a working age family is set to drop by 3 per cent in the year to the end of March, followed by a 4 per cent drop over the following 12 months. The 7 per cent drop will hit families harder than during the financial crisis more than a decade ago… Even though the crisis is not even at the half-way point yet, the authors of the report said millions are already struggling to cope with the massive spike in costs they have seen this year.”
Finally, an article in The Guardian argued how the crisis is hitting everyone’s incomes except the richest UK billionaires, whose numbers are up by 20% since pandemic. “The number of UK billionaires has increased by a fifth since the onset of the Covid pandemic… This sudden explosion in extreme wealth was in large part due to measures aimed at lessening the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, as central banks pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets, leading to a stock market boom which effectively lined the pockets of shareholders… While Covid-19 saw billionaire wealth rise to levels never seen before, the construction of the economic infrastructure that has enabled this mass accumulation stretches back over the last four decades.”
Pointing to the Future
Key insights and forecasts that show us what is to come
30 Developing Countries to Watch in 2023.
Developing countries will continue to face overlapping crises with little to no fiscal space for addressing them. In the short term, debt and humanitarian distress are pressing threats, while in the longer term, climate action and spending on sustainable development goals (SDGs) remain priorities. If ignored, any one of these areas could have serious consequences for millions of people.
A Thoughtful Vision of the Future of Globalization.
Countries should condition economic relations on political values, implicitly overturning the notion of uniform treatment across trade partners that has underpinned the GATT/WTO system for 75 years.
How Russia’s War Is Impacting the Global Environmental Agenda.
A fall in Russia’s GDP, decrease in its share in the global economy, and depopulation could all reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Russia, but can hardly be seen as genuine decarbonization.
Enabling an Economic Transformation of Ukraine.
Experience has shown that countries should begin planning for the post-war period before the end of a war. The geostrategic stakes in Ukraine are such that failure could have disastrous consequences not just for Ukraine but also for the broader region.
The Planet’s Future Depends on a Stable China-U.S. Relationship.
China-U.S. relations should not be a zero-sum game in which one side out-competes the other or one nation thrives at the expense of the other. The world is wide enough for China and the United States to both develop and prosper. The successes of our two countries are shared opportunities, not winner-take-all challenges.
Policy Prescriptions for U.S.-China Relations.
China and the United States are in a competitive downward spiral that if not reversed could drastically damage the two countries and damage the rest of the world.
Lula Can’t Simply Count on China This Time.
Lula’s aspirations for Brasilia’s relationship with Beijing, if similar to those of his previous presidency, would not be well suited for China of 2023.
Indian Rupee May Stage a Comeback in Second Half of 2023.
Forecasting a fate for Indian Rupee, Shinhan Bank, a premiere South Korean Investment Bank, has said that USD/INR is expected to weaken in the first half of 2023, due to economic slowdown but is likely to rebound in the second half.
Can Kazakhstan Rescue Europe Amid the Russian Oil Embargo?
While enough evidence supports the idea that Moscow will not hamper the export of Kazakhstani oil to Europe in 2023, the hope that Russia will allow the use of its pipeline infrastructure to increase foreign exports and enrich its neighbours is foolish.
Africa in 2023: Continuing Political and Economic Volatility.
Despite few African trade and financial links with Russia and Ukraine, the war in Ukraine will cause civil strife in Africa due to food and energy inflation.
Global Risks and Opportunities
Big Picture TEST Metrics for the US, India and China, February 2022
India’s Manufacturing PMI was down to 55.5 in December 2021 from a tenth-month high of 57.6 in October, remaining in the growth territory, amid slower rise in sales and new orders, even as business sentiment was dampened by concerns surrounding supply-chain disruptions, COVID-19 and inflationary pressures. Exports and imports grew by 39% and 40% respectively as compared to the same period last year driven by rising international demand for Indian goods. No further rate cut was announced by the RBI during this month.
China’s Manufacturing PMI rose to 50.3 in December 2021 from 50.1 in November, slightly above market expectations of 50. The latest reading pointed to a modest growth rate in the manufacturing sector, which is expected to remain subdued at the start of the new year due to uncertainties brought by the pandemic outbreak in Xian and Omicron variant. Exports and imports grew by 21% and 20% respectively as compared to the same period last year.
The Leading Financial Hubs for the Sustainable Information Age.
The global finance industry today is dominated by a few key financial hubs, which concentrate much of the world’s financial activity and served as nerve centres for the global economy. During the next decade however, the global finance industry stands to be fundamentally transformed by a series of major transitions relating to sustainability, digital technology and to geopolitics.
President’s Agenda: The Decisions that Will Shape US-China Relations; published in “Obama and the World” (Routledge Studies in US Foreign Policy
During the past decade, China has gone from being a “strategic partner” (under President Clinton ) to being a “strategic competitor” (under President Bush ). What the US and China will be to each other will be shaped by how Presidents Obama and Xi tackle the top bilateral issues of trade and economics, foreign policy, natural resources, as well as their respective top domestic issues.
American Power, Patterns of Rise and Decline; published in “Obama and the World” (Routledge Studies in US Foreign Policy)
The rise of China and the end of the American Century is a topic that has occupied policy makers, economists and investors throughout the past decade. While the continuing rise of China has recently been called into question by some, American decline still appears to be a foregone conclusion in the eyes of many analysts and commentators
The Master Strategist: Power, Purpose and Principle in Action
We stand at a point in history where we can have almost anything we desire and are able to manipulate technology to create wealth and launch any war we wish to fight. Learning how to create a strategy for saving the future is now essential.
Multilateralism to Transactionalism – America and Trump in the Asia-Pacific; published in “The US in the Indo-Pacific: Obama’s Legacy and the Trump Transition” (Birmingham University Press)
The United States under Donald Trump is set to chart a radically new course in Asia, a region that has long relied on America for stability and maintaining the balance of power. President Trump has reversed or sought to reverse many of the long-standing policies and initiatives pursued by his predecessors, with potential long-term implications for the global balance of power.