“Beyond the BRICs” Conference at Northeastern University Center for Emerging Markets Co-organized with Cornell University’s Emerging Markets Institute


Opportunities exist in other emerging markets than the BRICS countries.

Chen Chen, Visiting Scholar

by Chen Chen, Visiting Scholar

On June 2nd 2015, a conference titled “Beyond the BRICs” was hosted at Northeastern University and co-?organized by the Center for Emerging Mar­kets at the D’Amore-McKim School of Busi­ness and Cor­nell University’s Emerging Mar­kets Insti­tute (EMI) at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. The conference focused on why companies should enter these markets and what is necessary to succeed in second-tier emerging markets in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Lourdes Casanova, EMI Academic Director; Humberto Ribeiro, a Visiting Scholar at EMI and Chen Chen, a Research Assistant and Visiting Scholar at EMI attended the conference. Lourdes Casanova and Humberto Ribeiro were also invited as speakers.

The conference was opened by Ravi Ramamurti, the DMSB Distinguished Professor and Director of Northeastern University Center for Emerging Markets, and Hugh Courtney, Dean of D’Amore-McKim School of Business.

In the Africa section, Jonathan Berman, a fellow of the Milken Institute Center for Financial Markets, CEO of J.E. Berman Associates, and also the author of Success in Africa, delivered the keynote speech on “Why Africa’s Time Has Come”. Berman indicated that there is a cadre of edu­cated talent in Africa that wasn’t there before, with many stu­dents being edu­cated abroad and then returning home. Secondly, Africa’s increas­ingly edu­cated pop­u­la­tion correlates with the improve­ment in the country’s gov­er­nance. The third factor involves linking gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sector, which, Berman said, leads to an “incred­ible explo­sion of con­nec­tivity”, such as the wide­spread use of mobile phones, even in some remote vil­lages. He sees Africa as an oppor­tu­nity to peer into the future and expects inno­va­tion will migrate back to developed markets like the U.S.

In the Latin America section, Humberto Ribeiro, the former Secretary of Commerce and Services in Brazil’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Foreign Trade, delivered his speech on “Why Has Brazil’s Growth Slowed?”. He pointed out that the country’s economy grew only 0.1 per­cent in 2014—and the 2015 fore­cast is grim. He pointed to a few factors that may explain this situation. One is the country’s recent polar­izing elec­tions in which Pres­i­dent Dilma Rousseff pre­vailed by only a slim margin. Others include a cor­rup­tion scandal that engulfed the major petro­leum com­pany Petro­bras and a severe drought in some of the country’s most devel­oped areas, including Rio de Janeiro and SÃo Paolo. But then he offered some rea­sons Brazil may rebound, such as the increased focus on edu­ca­tion; the strong trade agendas and the economic and fiscal reforms that have bol­stered the ser­vices sector.

Lourdes Casanova and Joel Schwartz, the Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global New Business Development at EMC Corporation, together delivered a speech and discussion on “Brazil and Beyond in Latin America”, in which they exam­ined other mar­kets throughout Latin America.

Inthe Middle East section, ÖmÜr Budak, the Consul General of Turkey in Boston, former Deputy Chief of Staff to President Abudllah Gul of Turkey, delivered his speech on “Why Turkey Deserves Your Attention”, in which he gave a talk on Turkey’s place among the world’s emerging mar­kets.

In the Multi-Regional section, Bhasker Natarajan, the executive Vice President, Liberty International, and Chief Operating Officer–Large Emerging Markets Region, with responsibility for Russia, India and China operations, delivered his speech on “Combining Large and Small Emerging Markets”. And Wiebe Tinga, the EVP and Chief Commercial Officer of toy company Hasbro, delivered his speech on “Expanding Rapidly in Emerging Markets: Hasbro’s Experience”. Both of them gave fas­ci­nating accounts of how their orga­ni­za­tions expanded rapidly into large and small emerging economies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

In summary, the conference stressed the importance for academics and multinational companies to recognize the opportunities in other emerging markets beyond the BRICS countries, particularly those with large populations and strong economic growth rates.