Around 150 economists and agricultural economists from more than 20 countries all over the world came to IAMO Forum 2011 “Will the ‘BRICs Decade’ Continue? Prospects for Trade and Growth’ from 23-24 June 2011.
Altogether, nine keynotes were held and 30 papers were presented – dealing with economic and social developments in Brazil, Russia, India and China. These emerging economies, also referred to as BRIC, had a major impact on the world economy of the last decade due to their high growth rates.
“I’m very contented with the great quality of the contributions, our highranking keynote speakers and the strong commitment of the audience”, says Thomas Glauben, Director of the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Easter Europe (IAMO). IAMO had organized this conference in collaboration with GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies and Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW). Glauben is convinced that the BRIC will consolidate their strong economic and political position in the future: “These countries are not yet fully industrialized economies, and during the conference you could learn a lot about the serious problems they have to handle with. Nevertheless, the next decade will also be a ‘BRICs Decade’, that’s for sure.”
The following keynote speaker Arvind Panagariya, Columbia University, talked about the future of the Indian economy. With 8 to 9 % annually, its growth rates are also impressive. But unlike China, India is much more likely to experience a labor backlog: labor demand in agriculture is decreasing, at the same time there are hardly large scale industries that would allow India to raise its export rates. In addition to that, an inflexible labor market and declining investment in education on the part of the government cause further problems.
Russia, which doubled its GDP within the last ten years, was in the focus of the presentation of Andrei Yakovlev, Moscow Higher School of Economics. Yakovlev investigates the role of business associations in the Russian economy. Companies that are export-oriented and active in terms of innovations and investments are especially often members of such associations. Furthermore, business associations are kind of a channel for elite exchange. Members are in close contact with regional and local authorities, give them advice and, in turn, look to them for advice.
Klaus Schumacher, Head of the Economics, Public Affairs and Corporate Communications Division at Nordzucker AG, gave a talk on the reasons of increasing instability and volatility on agricultural commodity markets. Commodity prices underlie deviations – that is no new phenomenon, but new are the dimensions of these deviations and the complexity of their causes. Besides demand, supply and weather conditions, political factors like biofuel promotion and changes on other commodity markets, especially the crude oil price, are of growing importance. There are also new market actors like hedge funds exerting influence. Schumacher considers it a duty of the G20 countries to limit the leverages of financial markets on food prices.
The promotion of food production in emerging economies was in the center of the presentation of Heike Harmgart, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Emerging economies are vitally important for future food security. One the one hand, they suffer from unstable food prices, on the other hand, they contribute to their development via market constraints like export quota or bans. Obstacles to a further development of food production in EBRD-attended countries are for example insulated land markets, bad infrastructure, unavailability of credits, and an unstable political environment. Stimuli and investments coming from the private sector can help to improve the situation but also be supported by the local governments.
Finally, David Orden, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) spoke about the agreements within the World Trade Organization (WTO) concerning agricultural support. The aim of these agreements is to limit policy decisions potentially leading to economical deformations in agricultural production and trade. An annual report is providing an overview on every member’s compliance. WTO would appreciate the admission of Russia, which is the only non-member among the BRICs, Orden said.Little encouraging: Africa
Since 2003, IAMO Forum is annually organized by Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO). The conference aims to present and discuss up-to-date research findings together with renowned scholars, policy makers and industry representatives. At the same time, talented young academics are given the opportunity to present their work and to link in the global scientific community. The next IAMO Forum will take place from 20-22 June 2012 in Halle (Saale), Germany. The topic of this upcoming conference will be “Land use in transition: Potentials and solutions between abandonment and land grabbing”.About IAMO
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