India: Extremely optimistic on India in the long run: WEF President

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The President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende asserted his confidence in the prospects of the Indian economy on Monday by saying that he is ‘extremely extremely’ optimistic on India in the long run but he tempered expectations by saying that it might be a bumpy road in the short-to-medium term.

Speaking at the CII Partnership Summit 2021, Brende said that India’s influence on the global economy will only strengthen going forward. “If we meet in a decade, India’s influence and part in the global economy will definitely grow. Despite the problems India faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is the fastest-growing among the large economies in the world.”

Brende isn’t ruling out a double-digit growth for India in the coming year. For India to grow sustainably, Brende suggests that more investments need to be made in infrastructures like world-class airports, roads, and ports. “India needs to go from being the back office of the world and be the country that competes with US, China and have the same kind of innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said. Brende acknowledged that India is growing on the innovation front. “The number of Unicorns India churned out during the lockdown. India has a lot going for it,” he added.

But when it comes to the global economy, Brende has a cautious approach. “Economy globally is growing. We will have to take a little more cautious approach when it comes to stimulus as we also have to handle inflationary pressures,” he said. The recovery of the global economy since the outbreak of the pandemic has been marred by supply chain disruptions which have led to a severe demand-supply mismatch in multiple sectors.

“We are facing challenges when it comes to the global value chain due to accumulated demand, especially on the logistical side. There are hundreds of container ships lining up outside cities like Singapore and Los Angeles. Price of containers has increased threefold in the last month itself,” Brende added. He has flagged the need for long-term investments in ports, roads and other infrastructure.

But with the emergence of a new rapidly spreading variant of coronavirus, Omicron, Brende feels we are not out of the woods just yet. “We are cautiously optimistic on growth in 2022. Growth is back but we will see other challenges, we are not out of the woods yet. Omicron is a challenge because we have seen more breakthrough cases with Omicron than we saw with Delta, which is why booster shots are important,” said Brende.

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