Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2012

  • Exploring New Frontiers of Growth

    By Shin Taejun

    Tuesday 11th September 2012 - 9:00am - 10:00am

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  • The world economy is facing a turning point by the end of 2025, when half of the world population will live with more than US$ 10 a day. This significant increase in the middle class could bring about the “new industrial innovation”, and the messy process of transition may be waiting for us. Unleashing the power of the private sector is one key to bring about more growth, productivity and frugal innovation.

    In this session, panellists discussed several drivers of the future economy, and especially fascinating discussion points are as follows:

    Demographic changes

    The rapid growth of the middle class is reshaping the market landscape, requiring more new products to satisfy the demands of the people. Moreno and Chakravorti mentioned that the workforce participation of both youth and women would be a key driver of the future growth of the world economy.

    Natural resources

    Rich natural resources including vast lands in Africa could be the driving force for the growth of emerging economies, Thakkar said. The session discussed Africa extensively; in terms of land size and abundance of natural resources, the continent has a huge potential for future growth. Bürkner introduced an initiative called “Desert Tech”, an energy project to take advantage of the vast deserts in Africa.

    South-South cooperation

    Thakkar and Romeno pointed out that South-South cooperation is extremely important to enhance world growth but not as rosy as it may sound. The potential risk within China-Africa cooperation (e.g. overexploitation of the situation) was discussed as well. Romeo mentioned that China has been the main trading partner with Latin American countries, and India will shortly be part of it.

    Frugal innovation

    Panellists spent a good amount of time sharing opinions about frugal innovation (low-cost innovation). Since the lives of slum [dwellers] around the world are all very similar, poor people in the world face similar demands, and there could be innovations applicable to every bottom-of-the-pyramid market in the world, Chakravorti said. Some potential fields of frugal innovation discussed were energy, water, mobile money, daily consumption goods, etc. Gao shared the concept of a new energy structure with participants. As the current energy mix dominant in developed countries is not applicable to emerging countries given its sustainability, emerging markets are now facing the need to reinvent the energy structure with initiatives that include the use of solar, wind and other green energy.


    These insights were written by Shin Taejun. The views expressed are those of certain participants in the discussion and do not necessarily reflect the views of all participants or of the World Economic Forum.

Session objectives

What is driving new models of growth in frontier and emerging markets?

  • Intensifying South-South economic activity
  • Fostering frugal innovation models
  • Redefining the developmental state


  • Shin Taejun Shin Taejun
    Founder and Representative Director, Living in Peace, Japan

    Degree in Human Rights, Korea University; degree in Finance, Waseda Graduate School. Started career ...


  • Gao Jifan Gao Jifan
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Trina Solar; President, China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA)

    1985, BSc in Chemistry, Nanjing University; 1988, MSc in Physical Chemistry, Jilin University. 1997,...

  • Bhaskar Chakravorti Bhaskar Chakravorti
    Senior Associate Dean, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA

    BA (Hons) in Economics, Delhi Univ.; MA, Delhi School of Economics; PhD in Economics and Univ. Fello...

  • Luis Alberto Moreno Luis Alberto Moreno
    President, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington DC

    1975, degree in Business Administration and Economics, Florida Atlantic University; 1977, MBA, Thund...

  • Hans-Paul Bürkner Hans-Paul Bürkner
    Chairman, The Boston Consulting Group, Germany

    Studies in Economics, Business Administration and Modern Chinese, Germany, US, UK, South-East Asia; ...

  • Shin Taejun Shin Taejun
    Founder and Representative Director, Living in Peace, Japan

    Degree in Human Rights, Korea University; degree in Finance, Waseda Graduate School. Started career ...

  • Ashish J. Thakkar Ashish J. Thakkar
    Founder, Mara Group, Uganda

    1996, founded first business at age of 15 with $5,000 loan. Since then, has grown company from small...

Moderated by

  • Robert Guest Robert Guest
    US Editor, The Economist, United Kingdom

    Studies in Japanese and Economics, University of Oxford. Formerly: Freelance Journalist, South Korea...