Much as Japan Inc. caused a sensation with its buying spree in the eighties, acquiring prominent U.S. companies and landmarks, including Rockefeller Center, Chinese companies are making their presence felt. Acquisitions range from AMC cinemas to IBM’s personal computers unit.
When the U.S. financial system crashed in 2008, market watchers were increasingly romancing the idea of a “decoupling” that would separate emerging-market fortunes from those of the subprime-hobbled U.S. Such economies as Brazil’s and China’s, the thinking went, had the demographics and national balance sheets to keep growing and wowing as America foundered. Never happened.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to scale up assistance to Caribbean nations in an effort to give fresh impetus to the cooperation between China and the region. He said China will set up one or two demonstration centers in the next three years to showcase agricultural technologies, Xi said at a luncheon meeting with leaders of Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Guyana, Dominica, Barbados, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda, all of which are Caribbean countries with diplomatic ties with Beijing.
The world’s food crisis, where 1 billion people are already going hungry and a further 2 billion people will be affected by 2050, is set to worsen as increasing heatwaves reverse the rising crop yields seen over the last 50 years, according to new research.
Severe heatwaves, such as those currently seen in Australia, are expected to become many times more likely in coming decades due to climate change. Extreme heat led to 2012 becoming the hottest year in the US on record and the worst corn crop in two decades.
Trade with Africa jumped from U.S. $3 billion in 2000 to $52.81 billion in 2010-11 and is expected to exceed $90 billion by 2015. India has emerged as Africa’s fourth largest trade partner, after the European Union, China and the United States. Its cumulative investment in the continent exceeded $35 billion in 2011 in industries diverse as energy, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and telecommunications.
There are many challenging numbers confronting China‘s new leaders, but two are especially stark.
China has 20 per cent of the world’s population, but only nine per cent of the world’s farmland. And even that imbalance in the amount of land available to produce food for an increasingly demanding population of 1.3 billion is getting worse by the day.
Its economic growth is stalling. So it may be time for India to squeeze more productivity out of its large, poor, sleepy and over-subsidized agricultural sector.
Unlike China, India forgot to urbanize, researchers at Gavekal point out in a note. And the first step of urbanization should have been land reform. Industrial economies often get there by handing farmers control of their land. This encourages agricultural workers to save, invest and eventually become rich enough to send their children to university and perhaps move to the cities themselves.