Agri-Food Trade Service
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This Web site was created 15 years ago as a source of market information and export support activities for Canadian companies. As the web evolves and our interaction with clients intensifies we've decided to take a more active approach in keeping you informed with what we've published recently and to give a sneak peak at what you can look forward to in the coming months in the hopes of giving you a reason to come back and get more involved with our projects.
The Evolving BRIC Populations
June 20, 2011
In the last decade, the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) have had a significant impact on the global landscape, shifting traditional concepts of economic growth and power. These countries have expanded their economies, and become increasingly powerful entities in the global trade market. While they are growing as suppliers, manufacturers and exporters, population trends, rising incomes and evolving consumer markets present some intriguing export opportunities for Canadian companies.
According to Goldman Sachs, in the past decade the BRICs have gone from accounting for one-sixth of the world economy, to nearly a quarter. However, it is their populations that make an even more impressive figure, accounting for approximately 50% of the world population. Not surprisingly, the BRICs have been closely analyzed by the world since the term "BRIC" was first coined in 2001. These countries have been watched both for their growing influence on the world economy, as well as for their opportunistic consumer-bases.
While countries with growing populations often present opportunity markets for agri-food products, simply due to their size and food demands, the many ageing populations in the world will also present promising opportunities for a variety of health and wellness-related products. Countries with increasingly urban populations are also worth watching, because with urbanization often comes higher incomes and education, and busier lifestyles, fuelling more demand for high quality, convenience and processed food products.
With the United Nations now forecasting that the world population will pass the 7 billion mark this year, and a possible 10 billion or more by the end of the century, there is a significant amount of speculation as to which countries will be driving this growth. Will the BRICs, fuelled by population growth in the past, continue to grow? Or will new economic consumer markets emerge, as previous economic frontrunners slow down?
While China's population has continued to increase, growth has been well below forecasts and at a slower rate than in previous decades. Although some forecasts had predicted China's population to reach 1.41 billion by now, it currently rests at 1.34 billion. In the past decade, population growth increased by only 5.8%. While this might seem like staggering growth compared to some western/developed countries, this was nearly half the growth rate of the previous decade. In the future, China's ageing population will likely continue to slow population growth, with more than 13% of citizens now aged 60 and older.
Another large trend occurring in the Chinese population, and which bodes well for Canadian agri-food exporters, is the rate of urbanization. Approximately half of China's population now resides in urban areas. This evolution is also impacting China's economy and industries: where agriculture was once a dominant sector, but is now being increasingly left behind in the search for an urban lifestyle.
India has also continued to grow this past decade, adding a whopping 181 million people to its population, which is now 1.21 billion. Contrarily to China's slowing growth, India's population has actually increased three times more quickly than previously, at a rate of more than 17%. Helping to fuel this growth is India's considerably younger population.
Similarly to China and India, Brazil's population grew this past decade, now reaching almost 191 million. While growth has not been as rapid as some of the other BRICs, over the past decade the population has increased at an annual growth rate of 1.17%.
According to the Ottawa Citizen and the New York Times, Russia's population is facing a contrasting situation, and has actually declined over the past decade. In the past ten years, the country's population decreased by almost 3.4 million, now standing at 142.9 million. Not surprisingly, Russia's economic growth is also expected to fall behind its other BRIC partners, China and India, growing approximately half as slowly. While Russia has been trying to grow its population, ageing consumers will likely continue to drive this declining trend and have a considerable impact on Russia's economy in the future, as approximately a million workers are expected to leave the economy annually.
While China still remains the most populous country in the world, India's rapid growth is closing in quickly. India's population currently accounts for more than 17% of world population, and the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2025 India's population will overtake China's. Other country population rankings are predicted to remain relatively the same: the United States coming in 3rd place, followed by Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Two countries that are expected to significantly change are Japan and Ethiopia. While Japan is expected to drop sharply from a 10th place ranking to 20th, Ethiopia's population is expected to skyrocket up to 6th place.
These evolving consumer bases are worth following, as they can present a variety of growing opportunities for agriculture and agri-food products. As populations and economies expand, so do the potential opportunities.
Until next time…
Online Product Manager, Agri-Food Trade Service (ATS)
Kamberley // 02-July-11
"Hey, that post leaves me feeling foolish. Kudos to you!"
Best // 21-August-11
"I found your blog using google and I must say this is most likely one of the best articles I have come across in a long time. I've bookmarked your site for more posts."
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