G20 looking to increase GDP by 2 percent
Representatives from 20 countries met in Sydney this past weekend to discuss how to attain the global financial goals which were agreed upon during the productive meeting. With any event of this multitude, controversy was the main topic of conversation before financial ministers and central bank governors of 85 percent of the world’s economy met. But consensus was the word of the weekend, as it was made clear the G20’s plan is to spark the world economy by increasing the growth domestic product (GDP) by 2 percent in the next 5 years.
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, co-chair of the meeting, said the results of the meeting were “unprecedented,” as there was plenty of consensus to develop ambitious but attainable goals for the world economy. The move towards the decision to stimulate the economy by more than $2 trillion demonstrates the optimism in growth held by many. This increase is ideally expected to create millions of new jobs worldwide, without each country’s national finances. To meet this goal, each participating country will create a growth strategy and present it to leaders at the G20 summit, which will be held in November in Brisbane.
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Problems plaguing the world economy since the 2008 financial crisis have included high public debt, persistent global imbalances, volatility in financial markets and the weakness of many economies; austerity policies in Europe, high employment in the US and a decrease in China’s expansion have also contributed to the sluggish reboot.
India’s finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, who had criticised big economies (particularly the US) for hampering growth in developing economies, has said he is satisfied with the outcomes of the G20 meeting, but is still concerned with the lack of effort made for IMF reforms. The reforms, which would give developing countries greater say in the G20, have been on the agenda since 2010, but little headway has been made. This is, in part, because the US Congress has refused to support them; Hockey made a point to remind the US to work towards ratifying said reforms.
The official G20 Summit in November will continue to lay out plans for the goals outlined at this meeting, and will further discuss commitments for increased infrastructure repair and building, partly funded from private investments. Another focus will be working towards adding more women to the workforce of major industries.
Photo copyright G20 Taskforce, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.