Latest Books

 

China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Potential Transformation of Central Asia and the South Caucasus

  

 
 
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a potential gamechanger for the Central Asia and South Caucasus (CASC) region. CASC countries naturally view this massive development program as a unique opportunity to accelerate their economic development through increased foreign investment, upgraded physical infrastructure, and tighter economic relationships with their neighbors.

Yet embracing the BRI is not without risks. Some BRI investments may prove to be fiscally unsustainable, economically and financially unviable, and socially and environmentally harmful. Inadequate cross-border coordination and infrastructure maintenance could render some BRI investments wasteful or redundant. If not proactively addressed, these risks have the potential to leave countries worse off for having participated in the BRI.

Policymakers in the CASC region and their development partners thus face a daunting question: how to realize the promise of the BRI for their countries while avoiding the pitfalls that lie along the way?
This book attempts to answer this question by leveraging the unique insights of development experts in the CASC region. Drawing on the most comprehensive review of BRI investment data conducted to date, this book presents a dynamic policy agenda that is relevant to any country in which China is building the Belt and Road.
 
 

Africa Reset: A New Way Forward


 

Africa faces both big opportunities and worrisome threats. The Africa that emerges over the next 40 years—whether it becomes a dynamic continent with a growing influence in the world or an economic backwater that exports its people and capital—depends on what African countries do now. The continent is growing and many socioeconomic indicators are improving, but it is no longer catching up with the rest of the world—it is not converging. This book looks at Africa’s economic performance over the last decade, highlights the difference in performance across countries, and identifies the biggest policy issues that need to be addressed if Africa is to converge with the rest of the world and meet the aspirations of its people.

Despite tougher global economic conditions—slower growth, lower commodity prices, and tighter financial markets—one out of four African countries have averaged per capita income growth above three percent for the last decade. The progress of these high performers shows that it is what countries do—the policies of their governments, the responsiveness of their entrepreneurs, the integrity of their institutions, and the political will of their leaders—that makes the difference, not their resource endowments. The challenge is to extend this African best practice to more countries of the continent.

This book shows that the consequences of such a “reset” can transform the continent but also that the human cost of not doing so would be staggering.

Africa Reset: A New Way Forward was just published by Oxford University Press. It is available on Amazon.

Central Asia 2050 – Unleashing the Region’s Potential

 
 

An ancient land, Central Asia occupies a geostrategically critical place at the heart of Eurasia, bridging the vast continental space that is Europe and Asia.

Central Asia today faces great opportunities as well as daunting challenges. The principal message of this book is that the region has significant potential and a unique opportunity to accelerate its economic and social development.

A major lesson for the future from Central Asians’ past is that they thrived most when they were open to the world and to each other in terms of trade, investment, and bold thought, with a commitment to intellectual and religious pluralism and tolerance.

The book articulates an aspirational vision for 2050. Under this vision, the region will have achieved widespread prosperity such that by 2050, a vast majority of Central Asians will be middle class with commensurate income and quality of life. Social, institutional, and governance indicators will have improved in tandem and reached at least the level of South Korea and Central Europe today.

No doubt, Central Asia will face many challenges: as individual countries and as a region. However, challenges also represent opportunities. The book identifies several of these in specific areas, including the efficient development of the energy and agriculture sectors; developing modern manufacturing and service industries that are well integrated into global supply chains; fostering inclusive human development; mitigating and adapting to climate change; integrating with global and regional markets; and improving governance and institutions. A particular challenge, cutting across all others, is how Central Asia manages its increasingly scarce and critical water resources.

Achieving the ambitious aspirational Vision 2050 is plausible, though by no means pre-ordained. Many of the policy and institutional reforms noted in this book will not come easy and take time to design and implement. Regional leaders, individually and collectively, will need to pursue them with a sense of commitment and urgency.

The complete book can be downloaded here.

Books published in 2016

 

The World in 2050: Striving for a just, prosperous and harmonious global community

book cover paris small

This book takes a long-term perspective of economic and social outlook of the world to 2050. Its main focus is on the emerging and developing economies of today. But given the increasing interconnectedness of our world, it inevitably considers the likely evolution of the world economy as a whole. Given its long-term perspective, the book focuses on cross-cutting, intergenerational issues that often get overshadowed by the short-term crises and political preoccupations of the day.

The book is a joint effort of a multidisciplinary, multicultural team of 26 authors who were born in twelve different countries on five continents. They all have lifelong experiences in economic and social development. While building on this experience, the book takes an analytically rigorous and, hopefully, dispassionate approach.

Before looking forward to 2050, the book first looks back at key economic and social developments during the past half century. At the same time, given the global economic turbulence since 2007, the still sluggish growth in much of Europe and Japan, a possible erosion in the global productivity growth rate, and, in the last two to three years, the sharp slow down in many large emerging economies, questions have arisen as to whether the era of rapid convergence is over, and whether from now on more and more emerging market economies are destined to get mired in the middle income trap. Or, can the emerging economies once again resume their march towards ever increasing living standards through technological development and productivity gains? While the book attempts to address this topical question by looking at economic fundamentals, its objectives are much broader and its policy agenda much more far-reaching. Consequently, much of the book concentrates on the discussion of the cross-cutting and intergenerational issues that will, in the view of the authors, determine as to what kind of world our future generations will inherit.

The World in 2050 was released in Paris in April 2016. It was published by Oxford University Press and is available on Amazon.

Books Published in 2014-2015

africa 2050 option 2

Africa 2050 is now published by Oxford University Press and is available on Amazon. The book is co-edited by Theodore H. Ahlers, Hiroshi Kato, Harinder S. Kohli, Callisto Madavo and Anil Sood.

Africa 2050 highlights that the continent is at a critical turning point—what its leaders do today will determine where it will be socially and economically in 2050 and whether the fast-rising aspirations of Africans are met or crushed. Africa 2050 offers a vision of what could be—an Africa that meets the aspirations of its people and is catching up with the rest of the world in living standards and competitiveness. While the specific action agenda has to be country-specific, the book identifies ten continent-wide priority issues. Realizing the Africa 2050 vision will depend on pragmatic leadership focused on results and capable states with functioning public institutions.

President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, who chaired the June 2013 Africa Emerging Markets Forum in Abidjan on the Africa 2050 vision, distributed copies of Africa 2050: Realizing the Continent’s Full Potential to all African heads of state, enclosing a letter stressing the importance of action on the agenda that it lays out.

Africa 2050 is published by Oxford University Press and is available on Amazon. The book launch event will take place on May 20 in Kigali, Rwanda as part of the AfDB Annual Meetings.

kazakhstan 2050 option 2

Kazakhstan 2050 is published by Oxford University Press. The book launch ceremony took place on May 2, 2014 in Astana, Kazakhstan in connection with the Annual Meetings of the Asian Development Bank. The volume is co-edited by Aktoty Aitzhanova, Shigeo Katsu, Johannes F. Linn and Vladislav Yezhov and was published in February 2014 by Oxford University Press.

In December 2012 the President of Kazakhstan introduced “Kazakhstan 2050”, a vision and agenda for the country that postulates that Kazakhstan will join the ranks of the top thirty developed countries by 2050. Centennial Group International, on behalf of Nazarbayev University of Kazakhstan and in collaboration with the National Analytical Center of Nazarbayev University, organized an independent assessment by a team of international experts of what will be needed to achieve this vision.

Based on a review of Kazakhstan’s socioeconomic development over the last 20 years and an assessment of the outlook of the global economy, the book explores how Kazakhstan can build the foundations for an inclusive modern society in seven priority areas by: building a strong human resource base; managing its energy resources sustainably; growing a green economy; pursuing balanced and efficient urban and regional development; creating a diversified, modern knowledge economy; becoming fully integrated with the rest of the world; and, underpinning everything else, building effective and inclusive institutions.

The assessment concludes that the vision is very ambitious, but broadly feasible. It presents options for short-, mediumand long-term action in each of the seven priority areas. Recognizing that there are no blueprints for success and that Kazakhstan faces many uncertainties, the book concludes with set of eight principles that can help guide policy makers on a pathway toward the vision of Kazakhstan 2050. Kazakhstan 2050 is published by Oxford University Press and it can be ordered from Amazon. The book launch ceremony took place in Astana, Kazakhstan May 2-5, 2014.

For more information about the books, please contact info@centennial-group.com

Earlier Books

 

Mexico 2042 Cover English

Countries, like people, need an identity and purpose, a clear project, a worthwhile roadmap, and music of the future.  Their transformation needs to start with a clear narrative of where they want to go.  The future needs to be drawn very clearly.  This book has the rigor of a professional diagnosis and the music of a credible promise of the future.  The diagnosis points in five strategic directions:

1. The need for a highly competitive economy based, among others, on the quality of its human capital.
2. A strategy for reducing inequality and increasing inclusion at every level.
3. Increased competitiveness in the business environment, through the reduction of monopolistic practices, and rules for free and fair access to markets.
4. Macroeconomic stability and the strengthening of public finance.
5. A stronger rule of law, the most important pending issue in Mexican public life.

Mexico has pulled out half of itself from the waters of the past. To pull out the other half and move fully into the future, Mexico needs strategic decisions and clear leadership. But it also needs ideas, roadmaps, identification of public policies, whose results can be measured and can be demanded, as this study suggests.

The greatest strength of Mexico is its people, who want more, look for their own way and are willing to accept major material sacrifices to find it: a people looking for the wellbeing and the progress that only a profound shift of the Mexican economy and the country’s idea of the future can provide.

Our executive report from this study can now be found on our website at the following links:

English Mexico 2042 Overview

system

September 2008 saw the United States financial system at the edge of collapse, with the tightly integrated global financial system following close behind. But that was only a symptom of the problems that generated the ensuing crisis. The more fundamental cause lay in some of the practices that had developed in many of the major financial institutions.The emergence of perverse incentives helped create a credit bubble that eventually burst. But even these failures of the financial system, by themselves, would have been unlikely to cause a crisis of the scale that the world confronted. That was fostered by the massive expansion of liquidity that developed in the global financial system – and its inevitable impact on interest rates and the search for yield that those low rates created. That, in turn, was a result of failures within the international monetary system (IMS). This book will help anyone who is seeking to understand how the international monetary system works, the sources of its weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and the proposals for its change. The Palais Royal Report, and the other papers in this book, will help stimulate a global discussion of the reforms to the international monetary system that are so urgently needed. Recognizing the weaknesses in the international monetary system (IMS) that helped produce the recent global economic crisis – and that hold the potential to create further crises, in late 2010, Michel Camdessus, TommasoPadoa-Schioppa, and AlexandreLamfalussy organized a group of eminent personalities – The Palais Royal Initiative – to evaluate the IMS and to propose changes that would be needed to help stabilize the system and reduce the likelihood of future failures. The weaknesses in the international monetary system are manifold and have been evident for some time. It is without an effective currency anchor; it is without effective mechanisms to discipline the policies of the major countries which determine financial conditions within the system; it is without an effective global financial regulatory authority; and it is severely weakened by problems in its structure of governance. The conclusions of this Group – Reform of the International Monetary system: A Cooperative Approach for the Twenty First Century – appear in the first section of this collection. The other papers in this book, put together by Jack Boorman and Andre Icard, serve as proximate background to the deliberations of the group. These papers help define the issues that need attention, and that begin a process to identify the changes to the system that could help reduce its vulnerabilities and increase its contribution to stability and growth in the global economy.   Available at: at https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/reform-of-the-international-monetary-system/book238118

central-asia

This book brings together a series of background papers that were prepared for the First Eurasian Emerging Markets Forum, held in Thun, Switzerland, in January 2010. The papers cover a broad range of issues relevant to the diverse and dynamic group of countries situated on the Eurasian super-continent. Although the papers cover subjects and themes as diverse at the impact of the global economic crisis of 2008-2009 for the countries in the region, to what constitutes a good business environment – to name a few – they are united by the identification of the key issues – economic, geo-political, social – that are of the highest priority to the development of the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus. Available online at http://www.sagepub.com/books/Book237620

Central Asia and the Caucasus are receiving an increasing international recognition as region that holds the key for Eurasia’s future. This book makes a valuable contribution in identifying the priorities and policy prescriptions that will help the economies of Central Asia to realize their potential.

Oraz Jandosov, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

  This book is a must read for experts and non-experts interested in Central Asia and the Caucasus. It covers in one place, in depth and in vivid form, the most important economic and political dimensions of this critical region.

Djoomart Ortobaev, Former Deputy Prime Minister, Kyrgyz Republic

islamic

This book is a compilation of selected writings of DrVenkataraman Sundararajan (1945-2010), an international policy maker who played a significant role in the development of the regulatory and supervisory frameworks and policy for Islamic finance. Spanning more than a decade of his thoughts on Islamic finance, this book provides both basic and advanced knowledge of the field. The papers in this collection define Islamic finance, outline its many complexities, and provide practical recommendations that can help it in becoming an important global financial intermediary. Available online at http://www.sagepub.com/books/Book237474

The core concern that these papers convey is what must be done to render Islamic finance efficient, competitive and well integrated with the global financial system….this is a collection of significant, perceptive and insightful paper that is indispensible to understanding operation aspects of Islamic finance….at a minimum, this book should become required reading for all those interested in an alternative financial system, particularly in this post-financial crisis stage.

Dr Abbas Mirakhor Former Executive Director, International Monetary Fund and internationally renowned authority on Islamic Finance

india

This book provides a perspective on where India could be in the year 2039, if it maintains the economic growth rates it has experienced recently. In addition to emphasizing the virtuous cycle between growth and poverty reduction, the book outlines the salient challenges that India must overcome to achieve this end. These challenges include:

  • Addressing structural inequalities that lie at the core of poverty and exclusion of the most vulnerable groups.
  • The provision of education and health services, and infrastructure services to rural and urban populations.
  • Ensuring an improved environment—clean air, clean water and sanitation etc.
  • Launching an energy revolution, with a view to reducing the economy’s carbon intensity.
  • Overcoming critical infrastructure bottlenecks.
  • Improving the quality of education and access to secondary and tertiary education.
  • Improving the business environment to foster entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Taking on the role of a responsible global citizen.

The book proposes that India could be one of the top three global economic powers in 30 years. It presents a persuasive case that if India succeeds in sustaining its recent economic success over the longer term (as many East Asian economies have done in the past), India can realistically aspire to become an affluent society—with a GDP per capita of $22,000 (PPP terms and no poor people–within one generation.   India 2039 assesses the many hurdles – political, social, policy and institutional – that India must overcome to realize its vision to become a modern, affluent, inclusive society and lift millions of Indians from relative poverty within 30 years. It provides an agenda of intergenerational issues that are central to India avoiding the middle income trap—where countries stagnate at middle income levels and are unable to achieve high income status– that so many other countries have fallen into. The recommendations emphasize a pro-active stance on the climate change agenda, because itis in India’s self-interest. In addition, the authors provide recommendations on the measures required to enhance India’s global competitiveness based on improving the business environment, strengthening innovation and entrepreneurship, and building the required physical, technological and information infrastructure. Importantly, the recommendations also covered cross-cutting issues such as:

  • Improving governance at the national, state and municipal levels.
  • Reform of the bureaucracy, civil service, and judiciary.
  • Measures to address structural inequities, such as those based on ethnic and religious differences that affect the most vulnerable populations.

The book has been extensively featured in the press (Link to “In the news”) and was favorably reviewed.  A paperback version will be available in early 2012. Available online: http://www.sagepub.com/books/Book235056  

latniamerica

This book presents a long term vision of Latin American society and economies, within which current policy debates and actions must be anchored. It presents a set of multigenerational issues that must be tackled in order for countries in the region to reduce inequities, as well as raise their economic growth rates. The authors provide insight and advice regarding:

  • budgetary policy and management,
  • poverty reduction,
  • macroeconomic policy coordination and integration,
  • labor market policy,
  • long-term macroeconomic reforms,
  • innovation and technological development,
  • infrastructure needs,
  • regional cooperation and trade, and
  • governance and political sustainability.

This book provides an analysis of the challenges facing economic growth, equality, public safety, education, competitiveness and technology and innovation. In doing so, the authors analyze the reasons for Latin America’s underperformance during the past 30 years, highlighting the issues related to unsustainable economic, social and political policies.   The analysis is based on an innovative instrumental-variable-based structural equation model, developed by the Centennial Group. It is used to project the infrastructure needs of 21 countries for 10 sectors through 2040 under alternate growth scenarios.

Latin America 2040 presents a strategy to realize the vision for rapid economic growth and faster reduction in disparities during the next three decades by sharply raising their growth rates while achieving more inclusive societies.  It offers an agenda for what Latin America’s national leaders, policy makers and private businesses must do to regain the regions past momentum and achieve a much needed resurgence.

Available onlinehttp://www.amazon.com/Latin-America-2040-Complacency-Resurgence/dp/8132105826

blue-asia

This book is based on papers presented and discussions held at a high-level regional workshop organized by the Asian Development Bank in January 2010 to discuss the impact of the global economic and financial crisis on developing Asia. It provides a clear and thought-provoking analysis of the global economic crisis from the perspective of 19 Asia countries.   The papers present concrete ways in which Asian economies and financial systems can be made more responsive and resilient, including frameworks for macroeconomic, fiscal and monetary policies.  The book proposes that Asian economies can capitalize on the global economic crisis by using it as an opportunity to move from crisis management to gradually assuming global economic leadership. It spells out a general framework for strengthening recovery efforts, ensuring inclusive growth and open regionalism, rebalancing Asia’s growth model, and creating greater regional cooperation for a prosperous and resilient Asia.   This is perhaps the first ever book in the market to undertake an in-depth discussion about the impact and the long-term implications of the global financial crisis on economies in Asia.

The book was released at the Asian Development Bank’s 43rd Annual Meetings in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in May 2010, and has been extensively covered in the press (link to “In the News”). It can be purchased online at http://www.sagepub.com/books/Book235558

asia

This book determines what Asia as a whole is capable of achieving by the year 2050, and the related policies and reforms that are required to reach its development potential.   Asia is in the midst of a truly historic transformation. If it continues to grow on its recent trajectory, it could, by 2050, account for more than half of global GDP, trade and investment, and enjoy widespread affluence. Its per capita income could rise six-fold. It thus holds the promise of making some 4 billion Asians, hitherto commonly associated with poverty and deprivation, affluent by today’s standards. By nearly doubling its share of global GDP (from 27 percent in 2010 to 51 percent by 2050), Asia would regain the dominant global economic position it held some 250 years ago, before the Industrial Revolution. Some have called this possibility the “Asian Century”. This promising outcome, premised on the major economies sustaining the present growth trajectory, is plausible, but it does not imply that the path ahead is just doing more of the same. Indeed, just maintaining the present growth rates will require urgently tackling a broad array of politically difficult issues over a long and sustained period, even though benefits may not be obvious in the near term. Asia’s rise is by no means preordained.   A distinguishing feature of Asia’s economic story during the past fifty years has been the singular focus of most policy makers and political leaders on domestic economic and social development. This was appropriate as countries attempted to eradicate poverty and rapidly catch up with the developed countries. It was also possible to do so when Asia’s global footprint was smaller. But as the center of gravity of the world economy moves to Asia, culminating in its share of global GDP rising to half or more, it will no longer be possible or desirable. It is therefore important that Asian policy makers look beyond their national borders. Managing some of the biggest risks facing the region—particularly, cross-country disparities that could lead to conflict—will require region-wide discussion and action. In this Asian Development Bank- commissioned book, Centennial Group presents a strategic framework and the contours of general strategies for Asia as a whole, covering three dimensions: national action; regional cooperation; and collective action on the global agenda. The book was released at an Emerging Markets Forum Seminar, funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), in August 2011 in Tokyo.

The book is available in Mandarin and Korean; Hindi and Russian translations are under consideration. Online purchase at http://www.sagepub.com/books/Book237881

A companion video, based on the key messages of the book, can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtPXQ-ab9Sg

asia

India’s recent performance in agriculture has been favorable, with agricultural production growing over the past 30 years. Yet there is widespread consensus that, relative to the rest of the economy, agriculture is lagging and that it can and must do much better to support India’s overall high economic growth and dynamism. This book explores the future and presents the audacious question: what could the agricultural sector in India look like 30 years from now and how should it look if it is to successfully meet the needs of the country s affluent society? In order to address this question, this book proposes a set of recommendations that should be implemented on a priority basis. These recommendations are as follows: (i) make public programs much more focused and effective; (ii) recognize water as a critical, long-term constraint to India’s agricultural growth and give top priority to significantly improving the efficiency of water use; (iii) promote new high-yield seeds and related technologies, including mechanization, to improve yields and productivity; (iv) improve the effectiveness of agricultural research and extension; (v) support further improvements of the farm-to-market value chain and reduce spoilage; and (vi) improve markets and incentives related to agriculture through reforms of prices, trade, and subsidies. The vision of what India’s economy in 2040 should and can look like, with an affluent and modern agricultural sector, will require fundamental changes in both the demand and supply sides of Indian agriculture. The vision is based not on projections but on how India’s agricultural sector needs to adapt to match the economy s progress as a whole. This vision is plausible but it is by no means certain.

The text is available for purchase online at https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/transforming-indian-agriculture-india-2040/book240889#contents. —

Dr. Chandra G. Ranade, an agricultural economist with a background with the World Bank, recently reviewed the work:

“This is an excellent book to read to understand where Indian agriculture is headed in the next two decades. The book, edited by Marco Ferroni, contains articles by internationally recognized experts of economic development. The chapter by Harinder S. Kohli and Anil Sood sets the stage by discussing ‘legacies of the past’. The chapter on the structural changes, by Hans P. Binswanger-Mkhize, shows that India is yet to fully pursue the path of rural to urban transformation seen in other fast growing economies. The chapter on agricultural diversification by Pratap S. Birthal, PK Joshi and A. V. Narayanan shows where agricultural production is progressing in India. That chapter highlights importance of non traditional subsectors in agriculture. There is a chapter, by Richard Ackerman, entirely devoted for water as a key resource, not only in agriculture but also in the rural-urban transformation. The last three chapters on agricultural research and markets by Marco Ferroni, Partha R. Das Gupta, Bart Minten, Thomas Reardon and Yuan Zhau show enormous importance of markets and modern technologies in achieving prosperous agriculture. After reading the book, I felt that, if the Indian government focusses on strategic areas, such as water, agricultural research and extension, and leaves the rest to market forces, India will achieve what is discussed in this book. Montek Singh Ahluwalia in the Foreword for the book states that in the past decade India has already increased agricultural growth rate from 2.4 to 3.4 percent. With the kind of agricultural diversification going on in India, the next five year plans should increase the target rate from 4% to 6%.”