Assessing Risks and Realignments in Emerging Markets
By Fatima Peçanha, MBA ’25
A diverse, enthusiastic, and multinational group of people interested in the future of global emerging markets gathered at Cornell University’s Emerging Markets Institute conference, hosted by the Emerging Markets Institute at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and held online and in person on the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City, November 3. The theme of this year’s conference was Risks and Realignments, and nearly 500 participants engaged in discussions on economic development in emerging markets and the daily challenges they face.
Between panels, presentations, and competitions, the event provided a forum for global institutional and business leaders to identify ways to improve emerging markets’ economic growth. The conference offered a high-level overview of geopolitical and economic forces that influence the current global landscape. Setting politics aside, panelists discussed policy, new international treaties, market strategies, realignments to meet demands, managing risks, sustainability, and ways to redefine development and furnish tools to improve people’s lives collectively.
Startup and case competitions
In addition to speakers’ and panelists’ presentations and ensuing discussions, the conference hosted two competitions.
Five early-stage startups selected as finalists for the Cornell Emerging Markets Institute Mark Mobius Pitch Competition presented their ideas for enhancing financial inclusion, improving health access, promoting sustainability, and protecting the environment. Team Satellites On Fire from the Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina, won first prize and $10,000 for their groundbreaking wildfire early alert system.
The Cornell Emerging Markets Institute Corning Case Competition was really dear to me. The topic was Brazil and the semiconductor sector, and the challenge was to analyze the possibilities to burst mechanisms to develop a technological niche in the country. As a Brazilian, the development of anything that removes the stigma about Latin America and brings discussion to promote economic growth and financial sustainability to this area makes my heart beat harder. (I still think that there is a lack of support from developed countries, and the mention of political instability is an unfair connotation for the region, but I will leave this discussion for another moment.) First prize went to Team SIMulation from Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary, led by CEMS Master in International Management program exchange student Gergely Kemenyfi.
The impact of central bank digital currencies and strengthening global supply chains
The panel discussion about “Central Bank Digital Currencies and AI” was a complex crash courses in current financial practices, including an explanation of the Universal Payment Interface (UPI) in India and cryptocurrencies. In the end, a key message was that these changes may mean the end of the money as we know it. This surprised a few people, while others quietly nodded their heads as if it were nothing shocking. Brazil’s instant electronic payment system PIX and India’s UPI may be the new language of the market.
Keeping the financial perspective in mind, I could not resist talking to my fellow Brazilian and former president of the New Development Bank (NDB), Marcos Troyjo. Troyjo has in-depth knowledge of emerging markets and, in a quick exchange, he underscored the importance of strengthening a global supply chain among emerging markets and their role reshaping globalization. In addition, Troyjo applauded the work of Lourdes Casanova, Gail and Rob Cañizares Director of the Emerging Markets Institute and senior lecturer at the SC Johnson College, and noted that every year EMI solidifies its position as an emerging market think-tank.
Last but not least, I spoke with Ivan Duque, former president of Colombia (2018-22) and this year’s Distinguished Emerging Markets Institute Fellow, who delivered a special address at the conference. During the conference, Duque focused his speech on Colombia’s growth. He emphatically called on Colombia and Latin America to work together to promote ideas to improve technology in the region and embrace policies to pursue development. When I asked about his expectations of Brazil’s president Lula Ignacio da Silva, he said he believes that the Brazilian government is committed to work with Latin America to boost the region and attract investments to achieve financial stability. Surrounded by a group of enthusiastic Colombian students at the event, Duque reminded them that only with a strong economy can Colombia maintain its momentum and solidify its economy globally.
Questions for ongoing discussion
To summarize, I would like to share some of the questions I heard at the event:
- How do you define China as a market: developed, or emerging?
- What is the borderline of being a developed, emerging, or a frontier market?
- How do you define alternative development models? How can we promote them?
- What are the financial methods to be disrupted? What should be the mechanisms to achieve that disruption?
- How can emerging markets officially become key actors in the global market? Do you think they are already changing the global landscape?
- What is the future of cryptocurrency?
- What are strategies need to be implemented to develop a globalized supply chain?
These questions will be answered in the 2024 EMI conference at Cornell Tech in Roosevelt Island. You are all invited.
About Fatima Peçanha, MBA ’25
Fatima Peçanha is a class of 2025 student in the Executive MBA Metro NY program at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management and an Emerging Markets Institute Fellow. A project manager at a transportation authority, she holds a degree in journalism and a certificate in marketing administration from Funcaçao Getúlio Vargas (FGV) in Brazil. As a mother she is passionate about education and devoted to promoting first-generation Portuguese speakers and marginalized children to pursue higher education.