A broad ranging discussion I had with the Ambassador at his office in Buenos Aires last week.
A broad ranging discussion I had with the Ambassador at his office in Buenos Aires last week.
Successful LatAm companies and wealthy LatAm individuals would be reluctant to invest in Asia, given they are coming from a culltural framework of high uncertainty avoidance. Investing and doing business in tried and tested regions like the U.S. and Europe is preferred over the new.
A preferential trade agreement (PTA) between the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) and India has been mooted for many years, but has yet to materialise. The India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Trilateral has also been talking about an India-SACU-Mercosur (the Southern Common Market including Brazil) preferential trade agreement.
If the commercial relationship is to be truly leveraged, the agreement must be fast-tracked. With a consumer base of more than 1.6billion people, a PTA will redefine the trade corridor between South Asia, southern Africa and Latin America.
South African companies have not fully leveraged opportunities in infrastructure, energy, power generation and agro-processing in India. A case in point, India plans to invest $1.7-trillion in the next 10 years in infrastructure developments, yet no South African construction companies have been able to penetrate the Indian market.
BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, China), IBSA countries (India, Brazil, South Africa), and BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have rapidly clubbed together to advance the interests of the South. This, coupled with SA’s strategic positioning in the expanded G20, has resulted in government accelerating our strategic alignment with the South. This is clearly reflected in the new industrial policy action plan. However, business has not always followed suit.
South African companies are comfortable with doing business in traditional economies in the US and Western Europe, but are less comfortable with doing business in emerging economies.
Latin America cities are pioneers in deploying BRT and it is good to see Indian cities like Ahmedabad learn from this approach. This needs to be combined with road pricing, like in Singapore, to alleviate traffic delays and facilitate mobility.
The former mayor of Curitiba-Brazil, Jaime Lerner who was the pioneer in this approach details his philosophy for urban space and transit in this entertaining and informative talk below. Money quote from the talk – “The car is like your mother-in-law. You have to have good relationship with her but she shouldn’t command your life. If the only woman in your life is your mother-in-law you have a problem.” Also, “Otto, the car is the kind of guy who is invited for a party and never wants to leave. And he drinks a lot. And he’s a very demanding person.” “Creativity starts when you cut a zero from your budget, if you cut two zeroes even better.”
Ahmedabad, India, leads the pack as cities in developing nations race ahead of their richer counterparts in adopting eco-friendly transit solutions, according to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), which last week gave the western Indian city its 2010 Sustainable Transport Award.
The award has been given out since 2005 to a city that best “uses transport innovations to increase mobility for all residents, while reducing transportation greenhouse [gas] and air pollution emissions and increasing cyclist and pedestrian safety and access.” This year, for the first time, all five nominees — Cali, Colombia; Curitiba, Brazil; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Johannesburg, South Africa, in addition to Ahmedabad — were cities in developing countries.
Primary agriculture investment needs include some $20 billion a year earmarked for crop production and $13 billion for livestock, the FAO said in a paper ahead of a forum on how to feed the world in 2050 it is due to hold on 12 Oct-13 Oct in Rome.
A further $50 billion a year would be needed for downstream services, such as storage and processing facilities, it said. Most of this investment would have to come from private investors: farmers buying seeds, fertilisers and machinery and businesses investing in processing facilities, the agency said.
On top of this, public investments are needed in agriculture research and development, in big infrastructure projects such as building roads, ports, storage and irrigation systems as well as into education and healthcare, the FAO said.
Up to $29 billion of the $83 billion projected annual net investments in agriculture would need to be spent in the two countries with the largest populations — India and China.
Sub-Saharan Africa would need about $11 billion, Latin America and the Caribbean region would require some $20 billion, the West Asia and North Africa $10 billion, South Asia $20 billion and East Asia $24 billion, it said.
Panama has steamed ahead with a massive expansion of its canal to keep trade between Asia and North America flowing through the waterway.
It has revealed bids for the main contract in a $5.25bn plan to widen the canal, clearing the way for one of the world’s largest and most lucrative infrastructure projects. The Panama Canal Authority, an autonomous government agency, ended months of speculation by determining the “best-value” bid from three rival consortiums, signalling the almost certain winner.
The consortium, led by Spain’s Sacyr Vallehermoso and Italy’s Impregilo, significantly undercut its rivals with a $3.12bn bid to build new locks that will double the canal’s capacity and accommodate a new generation of super-size container ships.
The new locks, one on the Atlantic entrance, the other on the Pacific Ocean, will consolidate central America’s isthmus as a gateway for global trade.
India’s Jindal Steel and Power expects to start producing gas in Bolivia in June for export to Argentina, company representatives told the Andean nation’s president here.
Vikrant Gujral, vice president of the steel and energy major, told reporters about the company’s plans after Friday’s meeting with President Evo Morales, saying the gas supplies would come from a processing plant in the eastern province of Santa Cruz.
The company and its Bolivian partners began drilling at the El Palmar gas field at the end of March and have already invested around $7 million in the project.
Gujral said Morales was also informed about the progress in developing El Mutun, a giant iron ore field located in eastern Bolivia near the Brazilian border.
Jindal Steel has been working since 2007 at El Mutun, which is believed to contain some 40 billion tonnes of iron ore, making it one of the world’s largest deposits of the mineral.
The company has pledged to invest $2.1 billion in El Mutun over the next 40 years as part of a joint-venture deal with the Bolivian government.
There will be over 1,000 green buildings dotting the Indian skyline by 2010 saving energy. Already 375 buildings are under construction. Indian industry will also be a key player in the $40-billion green building material business in the world. There will be over 50,000 accredited green professionals in the country to make India a leading player in green building business and technologies.
The green building goal is set by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). It envisages one billion sq ft of green building footprint to be registered for certification by 2012, 1,000 green buildings to be registered by 2010, a major share in the $40-billion market for green building materials by 2012 and training of 5,000 IGBC accredited green building professionals by 2010.
“With a modest beginning of 20,000 sq ft, green footprint in the country in 2003, today about 375 green building, including 77 houses, measuring over 25 million sq ft, are being constructed all over India under the IGBC Green Homes Certification programme’’, C N Raghavendran, chairman, IGBC, Chennai chapter, said here on Monday. With the current growth rate, India would be one of the world leaders in green buildings and technologies, he said.
In his address at the three-day `Energy Summit 2008’ – energy efficiency in buildings, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), he said, green buildings save up to 30% to 40% energy compared to other new buildings mainly through an integrated approach to design and construction.
Venture capitals (VC) in India, which traditionally invested in urban segments or technology sector, have begun investing in rural-centric technology firms. Avishkaar India Micro Venture Capital Fund, Acumen Fund, and Rural Innovations Network (RIN) are showing increased focus on rural markets.
“India has very few funds that look at investing in rural India. But what’s heartening to see is that the sector now has a few options and entrepreneurs can approach for investment,” said Arun Natarajan, MD and CEO, Venture Intelligence.
Most of these VCs get their funding from philanthrophic activities. RIN gets funding from donors such as HIVOS, The Lemelson Foundation, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, and The Rockefeller foundation. Whereas Google, Gates, Cisco and others form the investor base for the Acumen Fund.
Acumen India has been in the country since 2005 and has invested in 12 entrepreneurs. The focus is to fund innovative businesses that target the poor as consumers and demonstrate to the world the sustainable ways of bringing access to critical goods and services such as healthcare, water, housing and energy to low-income households.
In recent years, as many major U.S. architecture firms expanded internationally, they often bypassed Latin America in favor of Europe, China, and the Middle East. Gradually, though, that may be starting to change, as architects open offices and enlist for projects in Central and South American countries, where population and economic growth have been strong in recent years.
Even as financial troubles mount around the world, and increasingly put some Latin nations at risk, there’s a sense that much of the region, which has been buffeted by severe recessions before, can weather the current crisis. At least that’s what some architects believe.
While the global credit freeze could theoretically curtail shopping
habits, the overall effects “won’t be as severe here,” Forneris
predicts. “Money has been hard to come by for years, so I don’t know
how much more credit can shrink for them.”
Another driver of Latin America’s building boom is tourism. Despite a
global drop in travel due to the economic downturn, Bryan Algeo, AIA,
principal of WATG, an Irvine, California-based firm, says the Latin
American tourism industry shouldn’t be as badly affected as other parts
of the world because the region’s still relatively affordable compared
with other destinations. Read the rest of this entry »
Peru expects to lure investments worth US$6 billion from Asia-Pacific economies despite tough global economic conditions after it hosts the region’s biggest gathering of leaders, ministers and top-ranking businessmen this week at its capital in Lima.
It is also seeking to attract investments from Malaysia especially in value-added downstream oil palm activities, Peruvian Ambassador to Malaysia, Alejandro Gordillo Fernandez, told Bernama in an interview here, Sunday.
Fernandez said Peruvian President Allan Garcia Perez aims to impress that his country is a top-notch investment centre at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec)’s 16th summit and during official and private sector meetings.
Besides banking on a wide mineral base such as copper, gold, silver lead and tin, Peru has bright prospects for petroleum firms to exploit crude oil reserves both onshore and offshore, Fernandez said. Foreign investors could also look for opportunities in the construction, manufacturing, trade and services sectors which have been the most buoyant in the domestic market, he said.
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