The coronavirus pandemic, Brexit, and trade wars may make economic headwinds. However, in spite of recent challenges, there are projections that the world economy would keep rising at a rapid pace over the upcoming few decades. There are projections that by 2050, the global market would double its current size. Even though the UN has forecasted dad the world population would only rise by a modest 26%.
Such growth would bring plenty of changes. Even though it is challenging to predict how the future will unfold, most economists would agree that today’s emerging markets would be tomorrow’s economic superpower.
As per The World in 2050 report by PwC, an international professional services firm (1), six of the seven of the largest economies in the world would be today’s emerging economies in the next three decades. They would surpass the United States, falling from 2nd to 3rd, Japan, falling from 4th to 8th, and Germany, falling from 5th to 9th.
Even relatively more minor economies such as the Philippines, Vietnam, and Nigeria would witness considerable leaps in their respective rankings in the upcoming three decades, as per the report.
Today, let’s talk about five countries with the hyper-growth potential to see how they are navigating the rapid changes already taking place, the benefits that come with living in these countries, and the challenges they face as they climb the rankings.
As calculated by GDP by PPP, Purchasing Power Parity, which adjusts for price level differences across nations, China is already the largest economy across the globe. The Asian titan has witnessed massive economic growth over the last decade. Yet, economists worldwide promise that it is only the tip of the iceberg of what the future holds.
The significant economic changes are happening right in front of the world’s eyes. For the last few years, China’s Industrial Park of Suzhou has become a glittering urban paradise of parks, shopping malls, traffic, and restaurants over the past few years. Fifteen years ago, the very same place was home to swamps and farmlands.
It is a prevalent story in China, not only in the Industrial Park of Suzhou. The whole country is rapidly witnessing the change.
These changes attract brand-new entrepreneurs and those looking to find opportunities and capitalize on the seemingly unstoppable growth.
Shanghai, China’s largest city, is a place where several newcomers kick start their journey. ‘Undoubtedly, the city is quite entrepreneurial and very commercial-minded,’ says John Pabon, the founder of Shanghai-based Fulcrum Strategic Advisors (2). ‘From early morning wet market traders to honking bikes at traffic lights to offices in late nights, everyone is here to progress.’ However, unlike NYC, where Pabon previously lived and discovered that people usually held their cards close, people here are ‘always ready to listen and offer sound advice.’
However, ex-pats must learn Mandarin to work and live here. ‘There is no nice to have in China,’ said Pabon. ‘You will find your options pretty limited for work without Mandarin. Even in social and cultural circles. You might not even be allowed in at all without it.’]
India, the world’s top democratic, second-most populous country, with its people known for their skills and hard work, there are expectations that it would see massive growth in the upcoming three decades. It is likely to witness an average 5% GDP growth per year, according to the report.
It has made India one of the fastest-growing economies globally.
By 2050, there are projections that India would be the second-largest economy worldwide, overtaking the United States. It would account for more than 15% of the world’s total GDP. And we are already witnessing an impact, positive outcomes of the growth.
We have witnessed India changing right in front of our eyes from the end of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st. The economic growth has led to various changes in the lifestyles of Indians, from the city vibes to the social attitudes and even the overall walk and talk of the country and its residents.
For instance, there has been a significant upgrade in the quality of mobiles, televisions, car brands, to name a few, in the last 15 years. Air travel has become increasingly accessible, with houses becoming more affluent and posh.
These improvements have not come without their set of challenges, though. There has been a lag in infrastructure spending even as more cars are taken to the streets. India also lacks regulation enforcement which has led to increased population levels, especially in urban cities like New Delhi.
Moreover, the growth has also not reached every citizen equally. There are still sections of the Indian society that are still living under an inferior quality of life quality. We can see slums next to high-rise buildings, Antilia, anyone?
The attitudes towards women here are also quite frustrating. We live in 2021, yet our country still grapples with continuous rape and sexual harassment crises (3).
We can measure a country’s growth by how much it is respecting its citizens’ rights. Hence, as a woman, I believe we still have a long way to go. Until we are safe in public places and regressive societal menace, no amount of ‘economic growth’ means a whit (4).
And since India is a diverse country, expats must do their research before moving into the country, as various parts of India can be quite different from one another. Each state of the country has its own unique culture, language, traditions, and cuisine. The western states like Gujarat are my personal favorite.
Nonetheless, India believes in ‘Atithi Devo Bhava,’ which means that their guests are equivalent to god. Hence, they would welcome expats with open arms, especially if they learn their culture and norms.
Despite these contentions, India has certain demographic favors and factors that play a crucial role in making India a potential global superpower. If India is looking to be the top economy, it must work on issues that would hinder its rise.
For a super future, we must start laying our foundations today!
Brazil, the South America powerhouse, is set to be the fifth-largest economy worldwide by 2025. It is also set to overtake Germany, Japan, and Russia in the process. In the last few decades, Brazil has expanded its economy rapidly with an abundance of natural resources.
However, similar to India, Brazil also faces challenges as it struggles to control its hindering factors like inflation and government corruption which has plagued the nation in recent years.
There has been a massive euphoria regarding Brazil’s economy in the late 2000s and early 2010s. A new middle class has risen in the country, and Brazil is taking pride in its new, hard-earned reputation.
However, at the same time, more prominent cities of Brazil such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are growing to be more unaffordable. These cities are getting to the point that makes it feel like Brazil is growing faster than it should. There are not enough rail lines, trade corridors, roads, and ports to keep pace with this rapid growth.
On the other hand, these challenges have also enabled Brazil to be an early tech adopter. In most developing nations, high growth means high inflation. Consequently, to avoid the high cost of cash protection against inflation, Brazil has joined hands with India to become a fintech pioneer.
Annalisa Nash Fernandez, an intercultural strategist, who previously lived in Sao Paulo, ‘Venmo, and Paypal equivalents are the daily routine in Brazil for over two decades, even before smartphones through an ATM.’
Even though the 2016’s recession has hit Brazil hard, the economy has started showing regrowth signs. Silvana Frappier, a Brazilian, states that ‘the country is still facing economic challenges. However, it is working towards a bright future.’
Brazil is among the giant in mining, manufacturing, and agriculture globally. It also has a strong and rapidly emerging service sector. There has also been an increase in tourism investment (5).
And despite its economic states, the country typically welcomes newcomers, especially if they know the native language. The residents are fewer individualists and more social. They appreciate it when a foreigner shows interest in their language and culture.
Mexico is poised to become the seventh-largest economy worldwide by 2050. In progress, it would jump four sports from its current 11th place in the ranks.
The country’s focus on manufacturing and exports has driven much of its growth in the past few years. However, its current economic conditions can hamper its potential gains.
‘In the past decade, Mexico has witnessed growth in its economy. However, it is not as much as it should be,’ says a travel blogger, Federico Arrixabalaga, from Puerto Vallarta. ‘The gasoline prices have doubled in the past decade while its currency’s value, Mexican Peso, has also dropped about 50% compared to the American dollar in the past few years. However, if one does some hard work and finds an opportunity, one can do very well. Additionally, the money earned in Mexico also goes a long way than more expensive countries.’
It is worth noting that healthcare and transportation are more affordable in Mexico compared to other countries like Canada and the United States.
According to American Susan Haskins, a senior editor at International Living (6), living currently in Merida Yucatan, ‘in Mexico City, the cost of an Uber to go anywhere in the city is only about 4 to 10 USD.’
As with many other developing nations, infrastructure and road conditions are challenging in Mexico. However, last year, the government unveiled a 44 billion USD infrastructure to spend over the upcoming four years (7).
It is also worth highlighting that each region of Mexico is quite distinct from one another in terms of culture and climate. Hence, expats must do their research and visit different cities before relocation. With that, the local hospitality also makes fitting in a lot easier, especially if you learn Spanish, which is a must.
Nevertheless, Mexicans are known to go out of their way to help others with communication barriers.
Among Africa’s most prominent economies, Nigeria is poised to grow through leaps and bounds by 2050, at an average of 4.2% y-o-y. In progress, it would rise eight spots from 22nd to 14th in the rankings.
Even though the Nigerian government has been long struggling with corruption, its residents have an entrepreneurial attitude that keeps pushing the nation forward. As per the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data (8), more than 30% of residents in the country are aspiring entrepreneurs or the owner or the manager of a new business. It is among the highest rate across the globe.
Colette Otushedo, a Nigerian native and CEO of Accelerate TV (9), living in Lagos, says that ‘there is the hustle and bustle culture in the Nigerian air. People here are hard workers, and it almost comes naturally for them to be working on multiple things at once. It means that there is always something going on.’
Nigerians have segued even the country’s biggest challenges, such as minimal public transportations into business opportunities. Otusheso added that ‘the country now has an app quite similar to Uber for okadas, a motorbike transport. It is also the most used transportation form in Nigeria. However, it has not been very reliable in the recent past. Now, users can track okada drivers and locations as we do for transport and deliveries with Uber.’
Nigerian residents are very optimistic about the country’s future. Yet, they are wary of government corruption and overseas investment. Chizoba Anyaoha, a Nigerian native and founder of TravSolo (10), says that ‘Nigeria needs to be careful of what country it takes money from, and who it allows helping the country improve its infrastructures and strings attached to it.’ He also noted the history of other countries taking advantage of Nigeria’s natural resources and raw materials.
While it can be pretty tricky for people to move to Nigeria, newcomers can settle in Abuja or Lagos, the big cities of Nigeria with good schools and excellent food. And like any big city, being street savvy is essential in Nigeria.
The best way to acclimate in Nigeria is to know some currently living there and is also trustworthy. It is pretty easy to identify expats in the country, making them an easy target. It is essential to take precautions, keep a low profile, and always be aware of its surroundings and people (11).