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The Rise of the South

By Ajay Chhibber (People's Daily Online)

08:27, May 09, 2013

This year’s Global Human Development Report (HDR) is titled simply: The Rise of the South.

It illustrates the immense power of a bloc of countries whose economic prowess is now chiefly responsible for propelling the world’s economic engine.

Brazil, China, and India are the big players, but represented in that South bloc are 40 developing countries whose growth has been an antidote to the economic malaise infecting the developed North.

This tectonic shift in the South’s economic power has led to millions of people being hoisted out of poverty; millions more have been buoyed into the middle class.

“The South as a whole is driving global economic growth and societal change for the first time in centuries,” the report emphasizes.

But that surging economic tide in the South is not matched by a similar realignment in political power, a realignment whose time may well be past its due date.

The facts and figures furnished in the 2013 HDR make a compelling case.

The report estimates that “by 2030 today’s developing countries will be home to four-fifths of the world’s middle class, with the great majority in Asia.”

Though their counterparts in the industrialized North have higher incomes and better standards of living, the middle class in the South – with its rising education levels and unprecedented access to information – is demanding greater effectiveness and responsiveness from local and global institutions, says the report.

If we pay heed to those demands, it will help in trying to meet the goals of eradicating poverty, spreading democracy, preventing conflicts, and sustaining our environment.

The report projects that by 2020 “the combined output of three of the leading developing economies – Brazil, China and India – will surpass the aggregate production of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.”

South-South trade itself has risen dramatically “from less than 10 per cent to more than 25 per cent of world trade in the past 30 years. The rising trade between China and India, and sub-Saharan Africa is a case in point.

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