India – A Global bright spot in 2024?

Year 2023. Defying projections, the global economy weathered challenges and remained stable amidst challenges marked with high global interest rates, geopolitical tensions, and sluggish demand. World Bank maintains India’s growth is also likely to remain resilient with GDP growth at 6.4 per cent for FY24. As we end the year let’s look at what some of the key trends for 2024 may be: 

Conversations On Climate To Continue 

2024 is set to breach all temperature thresholds with more heat stress and erratic and abrupt weather patterns. It is here that the renewable energy sector, currently positioned at a critical juncture, brings both challenges and opportunities for innovation. Facing global issues such as climate change and dwindling natural resources, this sector promises hope, offering viable solutions and showcasing a plethora of technological advancements and burgeoning investment opportunities. Green hydrogen, produced from renewable sources, is expected to become increasingly vital as an energy carrier in 2024.

We anticipate major advancements in electrolyzer technology, which will significantly improve efficiency and reduce the cost of green hydrogen production. The growth of renewable energy in 2024 will be closely tied to advancements in energy storage technologies with the emergence of innovative storage solutions like solid-state batteries, which offer higher energy densities and longer lifespans compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.

Recently held COP28 talks about transitioning away from fossil fuels, accelerating efforts towards the phase down of unabated coal power, setting up of the loss and damage fund, tripling renewable energy by 2030 and pledges by major oil and gas firms to curb methane emissions. Efforts will center on upgrading grid infrastructure to manage the variability of renewable sources effectively. This will include the implementation of advanced technologies like smart grids and distributed energy systems, which can enhance energy distribution and reliability. 

Focus On Foundational Literacy To Gain Momentum 

From the year 2024 onwards, the focus on foundational literacy and numeracy will gain momentum, with an emphasis on competency-based learning. This approach advocates for a mastery of essential skills that are the building blocks for all future learning.  

There will also be a need for a paradigm shift towards a more inclusive and skill-oriented education system which acknowledges the diverse needs of learners and the importance of equipping them with the necessary tools to thrive in an increasingly complex and fast-paced world. To this end, policymakers and educational leaders will champion reforms that ensure equitable access to these improved educational paradigms. Only through a sustained and collective effort may we hope to achieve an educational transformation that not only meets the demands of the present but also anticipates the challenges of the future, fostering a resilient, informed, and adaptable community. There will also be a strong need to focus on continuous training programs for fresh skilling as well as thought-out schemes for reskilling, upskilling and life skills as important pathways to success. The promotion of an entrepreneurship mindset right from school would presume vital importance. 

AI-Powered Talent Scouting And Digital Transformation Will Evolve

From AI-powered talent scouting to the gig economy galaxy. Many of the trends that have recently transformed our working life will continue to evolve by 2024. But as the year goes by effects of emerging technologies—AI in particular—will be felt more acutely than before.  Everyone will be impacted by this wave of transition and digitization. In 2024, the continued prevalence of the hybrid work trend will continue to redefine the traditional notions of work, offering a flexible framework that adapts to the diverse and dynamic needs of the modern workforce.  

Impact Financing Will Rise

Blended finance is fast emerging as an important strategic tool for resource aggregation to achieve SDGs in India. As per data available, the Indian blended finance market stood at USD 1.30 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 2.64 billion by 2027. The year ahead will see it play a more critical role in filling development finance gaps across sectors such as clean energy, sustainable agriculture, urban infrastructure, transportation, and so on.

India is uniquely positioned to lead the transition towards impact-focused investments in 2024. With strong investment potential and matured ecosystem, the year ahead will see more impact investments in areas of climate change, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and green technology. Like in 2023, there will be continued focus on the use of technology and data in impact investing to help investors recognize and quantify the social and environmental effects of their financial decisions.

ESG Will No Longer Be An ‘Add On’

India is keen to take the lead in setting ESG norms in line with their efforts with assigning sovereign ratings to countries worldwide. In line with this stance, the year will see companies begin to mainstream Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) commitments more seriously, not simply as an exercise in compliance and risk management. Intrinsic to their business strategy, companies will see ESG as an opportunity to redesign their business models from the ground up.  This can help companies to provide a structured framework to approach corporate sustainability initiatives.  

Last but not the least… 

Projections indicate that India will be the world’s third largest economy by 2027, surpassing US$5 trillion in GDP. Heading into 2024, India’s economy looks steady and on an upward trend, but a lot depends on how the interest rate regime is managed in a year of 2024 general election year – a stable government at the centre will continue to give confidence and attract investment into the Indian economy.

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