WASHINGTON: The “Next Eleven,” which include Pakistan, will collectively overtake EU-27 in global power by 2030, says a US government report released on Monday.
Although America’s influence will reduce, it will remain the “first among equals,” adds the report prepared by the US National Intelligence Council with inputs from 18 American intelligence agencies and dozens ofthink-tanks.
Based on socio-economic trends across the globe, the study also presents the best and the worst case scenarios in the report titled, “Global Trends 2030.”
The best case scenario: Nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030. The middle class will outnumber others. Most people will have access to technology, advanced health care and most countries will learn to link with each other. The United States and China will also cooperate with each other to lead the way.
In the worst case scenarios, rising population leads to conflict over water and food, especially in the Mideast and Africa, and the instability contributes to global economic collapse.
The study is presented to US policymakers to plan for the best and worst possible scenarios.
It includes a Goldman Sachs list of “Next Eleven” consisting of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam.
The “Next Eleven” will collectively overtake the EU-27 in global power by 2030. “When this second tier is combined with the non-Western giants of China and India, the shift of power from the West to the emerging or non-Western world is even more pronounced,” the report notes.
The study suggests that China will surpass the US in 2022 if GDP is measured at purchasing power parity and sometime near 2030 if GDP is measured at market exchange rates.
India will most likely continue to consolidate its power advantage relative to Pakistan, says the report. India’s economy is already nearly eight times as large as Pakistan’s; by 2030 that ratio could easily be more than 16-to-1, it adds.
Both Pakistan and India probably will have youthful ethnic and regional populations that could remain a security concern.
Youthful age structures are likely to persist for most of the next two decades among tribal populations in Pakistan’s western provinces and territories.
In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the rates of childbearing are probably greater than five children per woman among the Pushtun.
The report warns that South Asia may face a series of internal and external shocks during the next 15-20 years. Low growth, rising food prices, and energy shortages will pose stiff challenges to governance in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s and Pakistan’s youth bulges are large, similar in size to those found in many African countries. “When these youth bulges are combined with a slow-growing economy, they portend increased instability,” the study warns.
India is in a better position, benefiting from higher growth, but it will still be challenged to find jobs for its large youth population.
Inequality, lack of infrastructure and education deficiencies are key weaknesses in India, the report adds.
A growing sense of insecurity in South Asia will bolster military outlays. Conflict could erupt and spread under numerous scenarios.
Conflicting strategic goals, widespread distrust, and the hedging strategies by all the parties will make it difficult for them to develop a strong regional security framework.
Insufficient natural resources, such as water and arable land, and disproportionate levels of young men increase the risks of intrastate conflict breaking out. Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan also havefaltering governance institutions.
The study notes that nuclear powers such as Russia and Pakistan and potential aspirants such as Iran and North Korea see nuclear weapons as compensation for other political and security weaknesses, heightening the risk of their use. The chance of non-state actors conducting a cyber-attack, or using WMD, also is increasing.
Globally, power will no longer reside with one or two key nations, but be spread across networks and coalitions of countries working together.
Sixty present of the world’s population will live in cities.
Nearly half of the world’s population will live in areas experiencing severe water stress.
Among the anticipated crises is the worry of global economic collapse, fighting among nations that don’t adapt rapidly enough to change and the
possible spillover of instability in the Mideast and South Asia to the rest of the world.
Technology is seen as a potential saviour to head off some of this conflict, boosting economic productivity to keep pockets filled despite rising population, rapid growth of cities and climate change.
The report warns of the mostly catastrophic effect of possible “Black Swans,” extraordinary events that can change the course of history. These include a severe pandemic that could kill millions in a matter of months and more rapid climate change that could make it hard to feed the world’s population.
Two positive events are also listed, including “a democratic China or a reformed Iran,” which could bring more global stability.
APP adds: Pakistan-India economic relations will be critical to determining stability of the South Asia and Islamabad’s economy could grow on sustained basis if normalisation of trade between the two nuclear neighbours takes place, a new US report, looking into the world scenario in 2030, said Monday.
“In a Turn-the-Corner scenario, sustained economic growth in Pakistan based on the gradual normalisation of trade with a rising India would be a critical factor,” says the report.
An improved economic environment would produce more opportunities for youth entering the workforce, lessening the attractiveness of militancy and containing the spread of violence, the authors of report say of Pakistan’s economic possibilities.
Intra-regional trade would also be important in building trust between India and Pakistan, slowly changing threat perceptions and anchoring sectors withvested interests in continuing economic ties, it argues.
The report projects a strong economic engine in India could lay down new foundations for prosperity and regional cooperation in South Asia.
Over several decades, Pakistan would grow into a relatively stable economy, no longer requiring foreign assistance and IMF support. However, authors of the report stipulate that such a scenario would need sustained good governance and tax reforms that spur new industries, jobs and more resources for modern education in Pakistan.
It also presents other scenarios with pitfalls, including the militants, retarding developments in the region with violence.
A collapse in neighbouring Afghanistan would probably set back any such civilian-led agenda, reinforcing security fears and retrenchment, the report cautions.