The latest United Nations Development Programme report on human development says that the tilt of economic power to the global south, away from the north, is already happening and has benefitted more people than did Industrial Revolution when it started in 1760.
“China has overtaken Japan as the world’s second biggest economy, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the process. India is reshaping its future with new entrepreneurial creativity and social policy innovation. Brazil is raising its living standards by expanding international relationships and antipoverty programmes that are emulated worldwide.
But the “Rise of the South” is a much larger phenomenon. Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and other developing countries are becoming leading actors on the world stage,” says the report whose theme is “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World.”
The report identifies more than 40 developing countries that have done better than expected in human development in recent decades, with their progress accelerating markedly over the past 10 years. The global south is made up of Africa, Latin America and Asia while the north comprises of North America, Western Europe, Australia, and Japan.
By 2020, according to projections developed for this report, the combined economic output of three leading developing countries aloneÔÇöBrazil, China and IndiaÔÇöwill surpass the aggregate production of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. The report says that much of this expansion is being driven by new trade and technology partnerships within the south itself.
Noting that some of the largest economies (notably Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey) have made rapid advances, the report acknowledges the quite substantial progress in smaller economies, such as Bangladesh, Chile, Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda and Tunisia.
“The South has risen at an unprecedented speed and scale. For example, the current economic takeoffs in China and India began with about 1 billion people in each country and doubled output per capita in less than 20 yearsÔÇöan economic force affecting a much larger population than the Industrial Revolution did. By 2050, Brazil, China and India combined are projected to account for 40 percent of world output in purchasing power parity terms,” the report says.
The theme notwithstanding, the report stresses that the south still needs the north, and that increasingly the north needs the south.
“The United States remains the largest economy in the world in monetary terms and will remain so for the foreseeable future. If the US recovery hesitates and Europe is unable to pull itself out of its current economic and social doldrums, there will be a large knock-on effect on the developing world,” it says.
The report is an analysis of major development issues, trends and policies and is published annually. In the 2013 report, Botswana dropped one place in the latest Human Development Index (HDI) rankings.