Globally, of all new bridges opened in the last five years, 50% was built in China. Chinese investment has also funded numerous engineering projects in Europe; from an engineering standpoint, China matters deeply. If your ambition is to design a bridge in the next ten years, work from Shanghai! At the LSESU Emerging Markets Forum this year we have panels and keynotes directly addressing the rise of Chinese investment in their Belt and Road Initiative, a fantastic opportunity to participate in discussion with world-leading speakers.
For example, what could the recent dam collapse in Brazil do to the mining industry? It is possible that the government will be forced by angry voters to impose more stringent rules on the use of mud dams (holding heavy metal waste), which could greatly increase costs. This would have a direct effect on Western developed technologies. On the other hand, mining companies pay a gigantic proportion of Brazil’s domestic income in tax - can the government really afford to anger them? Debates that may seem a world away will have a direct impact on us, whatever career or position we find ourselves in.
Disasters like this dam collapse also prompt questions about entirely new solutions. Should we be looking further away from traditional emerging market industries like fossil fuel and commodity production? At the Forum this year there’s a panel on Future Energy, discussing how we could see a global shift into renewable energies and carbon neutral production strategies. With climate change apporaching dangerous levels, this is an area of paramount importance. Your voices matter: in a few years you may be in a position to develop globally significant technologies- come and hear what problems the industry is currently facing.
A question for you: Are you into coding? We have a workshop designed to explore the skills needed in electronic trading - specifically the big data reliant machine learning strategies that are currently being tested in agricultural trading! Emerging Markets will be the next expansion point for automated markets - this workshop is a brilliant chance to engage with professionals from the industry, to find out what skills they prioritize and how you could use them.
These markets are more open for technological solutions as well: banking apps and blockchain currency has been tested in Sub-Saharan rural areas, regions where historically individuals have had no access to financial services. This has had a huge effect on gender inequality in the area - women are able to manage their own finances with much greater ease. I would argue that the opportunity to develop more basic forms of technological systems that may well be implemented in our own markets is crucial to working out what effect they could have on our economies.
The Forum also has a panel dedicated to China and its development of Artificial Intelligence, a discussion of its risks and potential in economic development. AI has been a controversial topic recently, the harvesting of big data now undergoing close scrutiny. What are your views? Should we be worried, or should we embrace the opportunities afforded by machine learning? This is your chance to ask questions directly to those involved in the AI expansion: what do they think of how it will affect our lives?
The LSE Emerging Markets Forum is the perfect place to start to approach these topics, with hundreds of like-minded students and amazing speakers sharing ideas and learning from industry leading professionals. We’d love to see you there on March 15th and 16th for an inspiring discussion, thought-provoking workshops and networking opportunities with our fantastic speakers.