by Cameron Ormesher, Undergraduate Student
On the 10th-11th March at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, London, the eighth annual edition of the LSE SU Emerging Markets Forum took place, complete with its very own Snapchat filter.
The EMF is run by LSE students, as well as a group of professional advisers, many of whom have been involved since the Forum’s inception. The conference attracts pre-eminent academics, investors, and business leaders from across the world, and accepts around 200 curious and globally minded delegates from thousands of applications each year. Its self-declared aim is to provide a ‘unique opportunity for current and future leaders to discuss and shape global growth’, and it was founded in 2009 with a vision to inspire and expand our understanding of the role of emerging markets in our world. The Forum has become part of the fabric of the LSE calendar, well known for attracting engaging and inspiring speakers and panellists, and providing a fantastic opportunity for interaction between powerful opinions and passionate people.
This year, discussion and debate covered disparate topics including the Russian art market, commodities shipping, investment opportunities in Africa, and China’s aviation future. The first keynote speech was delivered by Bill Browder, a self-proclaimed enemy of Vladimir Putin. His colourful speech touched on his experiences dealing with Russia’s emerging economy and infamously shady bureaucracy. Gary Coombe, President of Europe at P&G, provided a powerful pitch for the value of gender equality across business and society, particularly in the emerging economies. He showcased P&G’s emotive ‘#likeagirl’ campaign for female empowerment, and gave an insight into corporate strategy to promote women’s’ issues, and the benefits this would bring.
On Day 2, Vesselin Zahariev, a Bulgarian-based investment banker, spoke about the lesser-known opportunities in M&A in Central and Eastern Europe, relating this to political stability and the M&A market more generally. Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, delivered a resounding and engaging keynote on the advent of renewable energy becoming the new normal, highlighting that the costs of producing electricity from solar “have fallen 99% since 1976 and 90% since 2004″. Jarred Glansbeek, CEO of Riscura, who provide investment advice to institutional investors across Africa, spoke about geopolitical risk and conspiracy theories around investing, particularly in the surging African economies, in an enlightening workshop session.
The forum was once again a thought-provoking and frantic affair. Giuliana Carvalho, a Brazillian student of International Economics and Management from Bocconi University Milan, said that the Forum was “an incredible experience”, as “each and every single keynote, workshop and panel discussion enriched my knowledge, gave valuable insights for the future and opportunities in Emerging Markets”. Patricio J. Vascones, an Ecuadorian student in International Business and Sustainability from the University of British Columbia, said “attending the LSEEMF was a unique experience that allowed me to comprehensively develop valuable skills from industry-leading experts, help me to expand my global perspective, and pursue my interests in leveraging the potential and growing opportunities in my country, Ecuador, and Latin America in general.”
The President of this year’s edition of the Forum, Luisa Melendez, said it had been “incredibly rewarding for the whole team to see it coming together, to see everyone enjoying themselves and making the most out of it, especially after a challenging organisation period over the past several months”. Hearing such positive feedback from delegates who had come from as far away as New Delhi, made all the stress and struggle entirely worthwhile, and the Forum has been a great success once again!”