The BRICs and beyond: prospects, challenges and opportunities

This is the latest in a series of reports that seeks to update projections of potential growth in GDP in leading economies over the period to 2050.

The original PwC ‘World in 2050’ study in 2006 covered the 17 largest economies: the G7 (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and Canada) plus Spain, Australia and South Korea; and the E7 (Brazil, Russia, India, China, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey).

The extended 2013 study – titled World in 2050 The BRICs and Beyond: Prospects, challenges and opportunities - also includes Vietnam, Nigeria, South Africa, Malaysia, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Argentina.

The report concludes that the emerging economies are set to grow much faster than the G7 over the next four decades. Figures for average growth in GDP in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms (which adjusts for price level differences across countries) show Nigeria leading the way over the period from 2012 to 2050, followed by Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

John Hawksworth, PwC Chief Economist and co-author of the report, explains: "The global financial crisis has hit the G7 much harder than the E7 in the short term. And it has also caused downward revisions in the estimates of longer term trend growth in the G7 – particularly those economies in Europe and the US that had previously relied on excessive public and private borrowing to drive growth.”

This means that, in PPP terms:

  • The E7 could overtake the G7 before 2020
  • By 2050 China, the US and India could be by far the largest economies – with a big gap to Brazil in fourth place, ahead of Japan
  • And by the same time, Russia, Mexico and Indonesia could be bigger than Germany or the UK; Turkey could overtake Italy; and Nigeria could rise up the league table, as could Vietnam and South Africa in the longer term.
  • Beyond the largest economies, Malaysia has considerable long-term growth potential, while Poland could continue to outpace its Western European neighbours for some decades to come.

Download the full report to discover more – including the risks that could derail emerging market growth, and the pressure on natural resources from rapid growth in emerging economies.