"It’s time to make South-South Corporation a priority, when it comes to re-fixing our economies" said Vijay Eswaran, Executive Chairman of the QI Group in an interview at the 2009 Africa-Americas-Arab-Asia Business Summit (AAAA Business Summit) held early February at the Monarch Hotel, Dubai.
QI, a large scale investor in the Colombo Stock Market was the principal sponsor of this event which brought together 500 delegates from all over the world to explore increased collaboration between the Southern economies in Africa, Asia, Arab and the Americas in order to promote global economic development. This impressive business forum focussed on the role of new economic actors in these emerging economies and explored shifting patterns of cooperation between them and those of mature industrialised countries, in driving forward global economic growth and wealth creation.
"Up to now the first world country has had a disproportionate effect on the flow of human capital through the world. But this economic depression is a sign of a major shift in the global power politics. South-South cooperation is far more significant today than it has ever been. It is very distant from the non-aligned movement as envisioned by Nehru Sukarno & General Nasser. Today a lot of what they saw in very vague parameter is coming into fruition and hence the South-South cooperation is far relevant" the Chairman of QI said.
The topics taken up at the 2009 AAAA Summit included how emerging nations can increase investment inflows, trade and capacity in sectors that allow them to create a sustainable competitive advantage. It also addressed the subject of financing for infrastructure development, as well as resource mobilisation, managing food price rises and the role of business in supporting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) Call to Action.
The Chairman of the QI Group believes that a fundamental transformation has taken place today, in the structure of world economy; the dominant feature of this transformation being the emergence of the South. Vijay Eswaran says "the global expansion of the past 5 years has been more broad based than ever before. This has allowed many developing countries to become major players in trade and investment."
Eswaran believes that one has to make an opportunity out of the global economic meltdown and says that most of the economic slumps are due to a balancing that is overdue. "Conceptually however, the ebb and flow of the economic tide is just a natural adjustment. The crisis is perhaps one that is long overdue. Economic pundits have been predicting it from the late 1990’s onwards. Historically each period of crisis has precipitated a period of great economic growth. In the 1920’s when the world economies spun out of control resulting in a need for balance, the crash of 1929 was about reversing the equilibrium and thereby initiating massive growth. The 1930’s saw the emergence of several economic power houses. "
"Like the shift of power from colonial rulers like Britain, France and Germany to USA in the mid 20th century, today the current economic crunch, will realign the axis of power. The 3rd world is coming to be on its own, if one were to take a look at the BRIC companies – Brazil, Russia, India and China and add Indonesia and Japan to the mix the population of these 6 nations together would comprise half the world if not more. There is a major shift of power that we are in the midst of and one needs to recognise that.
Today, regional cooperation provides most developing countries with a platform to seek regional solutions for the challenges of globalisation.
"For the man on the street, the basic issue of providing food, shelter and clothing for his family remains the same. The fundamental asset of economic growth is and always will be the human capital. It is the people who continue to make success out of nothing at all and it’s the people who will emerge from the crisis either as Lions or as Sheep. If you step back and let the economic tide carry you, then it is going to unceremoniously dump you high and dry on some barren outcropping. On the other hand if you choose to be a Lion then the crisis is the best possible time.
It is the time to avail of all the skill sets, of the infrastructure, of the technology, of the real estate that you could not or would not have dared to venture into six months ago, due to the cost or availability. This is the time to begin building upon for the next ten years. People are still the primary asset and they have never been more accessible than in this period."