BNP Paribas Fortis visits India

At the Belgo-Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, we are committed to empowering our members to thrive in the global marketplace. Recently, we were proud to assist one of our members, Koen de Leus from BNP Paribas Fortis, in his research trip to India.

By leveraging our network and resources, we facilitated valuable connections that helped in achieving their research goals. Koen de Leus shares his experience about his time in India.

“Last October I went on a study trip to India, where I visited New Delhi and Mumbai. And of course, Agra and the Taj Mahal; in order to understand a country, you have to sniff the culture as well

I was impressed by the impeccable road that took me to Agra. We covered the distance from Greater Noida (just outside New Delhi) in less than two hours, compared to the four hours it would have taken before. Every day India builds around 30 kilometres of extra road, and the government aims to pick up that pace to 45 kilometres per day. New ports and airports are being built and infrastructure is improving, all in an attempt to lure foreign companies to invest in India.

India needs these investments. It needs to create between 150 and 300 million EXTRA jobs by 2050 to reap its demographic dividend. On top of that it will have to create jobs for people migrating from rural areas to the (smart) cities. If the country can achieve that, the middle class will grow even larger than it already is today, consumption will follow and economic growth will remain at 7% a year, or even more, for quite a while longer.

However, achieving this goal will not be simple. India is NOT the new China; India is a democracy and democracies typically change much (much) slower. Ten years of Premier Narendra Modi have brought many structural changes, such as digital development and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax system. But the ‘Big Bang’ reforms of the labour, agriculture and land markets are hard nuts to crack. Healthcare and basic education in rural areas also have room for improvement.

In the following weeks, I will do 10 deep dives into these and other topics to show you my take on India’s promise. I’ll base my articles on 20+ interviews I had with top officials, academics and chief economists (including the chief economic advisor of the Indian government), as well as my personal experience and piles of macro studies I’ve read. 

A big thanks to all people I interviewed, talked to, and helped me organize this fantastic insightful study trip.”

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