On Tuesday, A.T. Kearney's Global Business Policy Council will release the preliminary version of its Global Economic Outlook 2014-2020. There are three big takeaways to the report that together, I believe, have significant relevance to how commercial markets could evolve over the next six years and beyond. Here's a sneak preview of the top-line insights:
- The first and not-so-rocket-science takeaway is that the once-venerated BRIC label needs to be abandoned—at long last. The truth is that the BRIC countries were never really similar structurally (in fact, just the opposite!) and that the label—celebrated as it once was—was largely contrived except for the rapid growth that all four economies experienced for different reasons. Catchy then, but mostly irrelevant under the current circumstances. What is much more interesting now is to take a no-holds-barred look at where things are going. We see a mixed outlook, with China and then India restoring a good portion of their growth momentum. The jury is out on Brazil for all the reasons we know. Russia, alas, is on its own path.
- Second, it's now time to take a good long look at all of the emerging markets. When it comes to catchy labels to capture different permutations of next-wave growth economies, there has surely been no deficit of attempts. Still, here's our contender: the "2020-7"—that is, the seven economies we believe are best poised to excel in the next six years. We name names in our report. In alphabetical order, the 2020-7 economies are: Chile, China, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, and the Philippines. Colombia is not far behind. Neither is Turkey, despite all its recent challenges.
- Finally, our report gives a big thumbs-up to the prospects for Africa, which are about as good as we have ever seen. To be sure, there is a very wide range of economic and political experiments under way across the region and it's tough to generalize. But in the aggregate, many of the African economies are poised for the takeoff that we have all been waiting to see.
It wasn't long ago when "the new normal" was the expression of the day. I still hear it from time to time. But according to our research, it's a case of "renewed normal"—with the United States as the leading economic force, at least for the time being, and the 2020-7 economies ready to inaugurate a new phase of global economic dynamism.
I'm in spectacular Cartagena, Colombia, now for our annual CEO Retreat, a micro Davos-like meeting for business and political leaders that kicks off tonight. We'll test the ideas in our report with the world-class economists who will appear before the CEO Retreat tomorrow, and I'll be sure to post a follow-up commentary here on their reactions. I'm looking forward to your feedback in the meantime.