A member of staff stands behind national flags of Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and India to tidy the flags ahead a group photo during the BRICS Summit at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center in Xiamen, southeastern China's Fujian Province on September 4, 2017. 
Xi opened the annual summit of BRICS leaders that already has been upstaged by North Korea's latest nuclear weapons provocation. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / WU HONG        (Photo credit should read WU HONG/AFP/Getty Images)

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Emerging and developing countries are not, of course, all alike. But as Martin Wolf outlines in this week’s column, the sunnier outlook for global economic growth provides an opportunity for even the most challenged to improve both their prospects and resilience to future shocks. Poverty means they have a greater need for fast growth, and they should have a larger potential for growth if they can “catch up” with higher-income countries.

Determined policy can, Martin argues, improve the potential for growth and offset the forecast slowdown: this means addressing workforce problems, improving the quality and quantity of education, for example, and boosting female participation. Buttressing the legal system and regulation should also be a priority.

It should be possible for these countries to encourage more entrepreneurship, boost productivity and bring in investment. But they need to act now because, he warns, “economic sunshine never lasts.”

Business can help accelerate Brexit phase two— Jonathan Hill, the former EU commissioner, on the sort of honest debate that the UK needs on winners and losers from leaving the EU.

Trump’s Jerusalem move compromises fragile ally Jordan— David Gardner on the complex and continuing regional fallout from the decision to announce the US will recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital city.

A happy opera ending sparks #MeToo debate in Italy— James Politi reflects on how a production of Carmen in Florence has ignited a country where traditional gender roles die hard.

Best of the rest

The Trump administration in its own words — the Washington Post has rounded up the most quotable tweets and speeches from the US president’s first year.

Jon Lansman’s long march to Labour’s top table — George Eaton in the New Statesman on the determined rebirth of a veteran leftist, newly elected to the NEC.

Brexit Britain will have to get used to life as a third country — Rafael Behr in the Guardian says the best the UK can aim for is to be first among outsider nations.

If Austria had faced up to its past, it would have taken a different path — Franz Kaltenbeck in Le Monde argues that unlike the Germans, the country has not done the work of remembering.

Am I a bad feminist? — Margaret Atwood, in the Globe and Mail, wades into a university discipline row in Canada, pointing out that #MeToo was a response to the fact that women could not get a fair hearing through institutions or the law.

What you’ve been saying

Sceptics of the EU dream may have the last laugh— letter from Peter Jay, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, UK

“Sir, Hush, hush, whisper who dares, is Philip Stephens (‘ Merkel steps into Macron’s shadow’, January 12) finally stirring after his long sleep? In essentially the same column week after week, decade after decade, he has hymned his dream of the EU, in all of its successive guises, as a liberal, internationalist, free-trading, multilateralist, moderate vehicle of a better future. Some of us who are more sceptical insisted that from the moment Jean Monnet first planted the seeds of the Schuman plan in the aftermath of the American-led postwar settlement it has been a Bonapartist plan to restore humiliated French glory, to ape the continental industrial capacity, taxing power and military potential of the superpowers and thereby eventually to create the continental political empire that had eluded Louis XIV, Napoleon and 20th-century German leaders.”

Comment by RobDean on The FT View, Carillion’s private failure is a public problem

“The article suggests ‘It would be odd to allege lack of competition after a company drove itself out of business with low bids’. But that begs the question of the ever increasing dividend, huge bonuses and generous payoffs which prevailed throughout: a lucrative racket perhaps kept falsely afloat for a some time by liquidity acquired by bidding low, trousering the money and feeling assured of a very comfortable perch from which to observe events as and when reality asserted itself.”

Burns report opens route to reform of the Lords— from Norman Fowler, House of Lords

“Sir, Nicholas Boyle ( Letters, January 11) and Darren Hughes ( Letters, January 15), with their different proposals to change the House of Lords, show why no government would consider introducing a bill that followed either course. With the debate taking place in both Houses on Brexit there is no appetite for further measures of extreme controversy.”

Today’s opinion

A happy opera ending sparks a #MeToo debate in Italy
This is a country where traditional conceptions of gender roles die hard

How Trump’s Jerusalem move compromises fragile ally Jordan
The kingdom is vulnerable to destabilising deals between the US and Saudi Arabia

How to fix university economics courses
A syllabus that does not integrate the insights of other disciplines fails students

Business can help accelerate Brexit phase two
Leaving the EU will create winners and losers, as any honest debate would admit

FT Alphaville: What if China stops being an optimal currency area?

Global recovery brings opportunities for emerging markets
A policy push to improve education and productivity can stop a slowdown in growth

Instant Insight: 2018: the year of fake economic data
Unreliable statistics are giving official number crunchers a bad name

Free Lunch: What macroeconomists actually do
Problems can be traced back to two intellectual revolutions

EM Squared: IMF calls for urgent reform of Middle East public wage bills
Bloated state payrolls fail to cut unemployment or provide decent public services

FT View

FT View: Nigeria plays with fire in its handling of Shia sect
The persecution of radical cleric Ibrahim el-Zakzaky rebounds upon the state

FT View: Anglo-French defence co-operation marches on
Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the UK is a chance to strengthen existing ties

The Big Read

The Big Read: Brazil: Rainforest pays the price for the country’s crisis
Deforestation has declined but the Amazon remains vulnerable to political change and powerful agricultural lobbies

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