Emerging Markets

"The ultimate resource in economic development is people. It is people, not capital or raw materials, that develop an economy."

Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005), American management consultant
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This Business English lesson plan on emerging markets has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

The world, rightly or wrongly, has been divided into two camps: developing and developed. Developed nations are wealthy countries whose economies have transitioned first from agriculture to industry, and then from industry to services. Developing countries are those that have not yet made these transitions and are comparatively poorer. But amongst these developing countries, some are considered to be on the brink of joining the elite club, and as such, present business opportunities that could bring high rewards for an investor. In this Business English lesson plan on emerging markets, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the path countries take on their way to development, the business opportunities in emerging markets, and which countries have experienced success in economic development.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

First Links | 10 trends reshaping the future of emerging markets

The article looks at a number of trends in emerging markets and how they are shaping the global economy, including growth in the aviation industry, the transformation to digital payments and an increased demand for luxury goods. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any ways they might add to the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is by CNBC News called “What is an emerging market?” which explains the terminology of ‘emerging market’ as well as looking at some real-world examples.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the difference between an emerging market and a developing country, which countries are considered emerging, and how economic development could affect global prices.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with emerging markets such as foreign direct investment, market liberalisation and commodity. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about emerging markets. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as the effect of market liberalisation on the local market, whether authoritarian regimes can develop their economies, and the conflict of globalisation on national governments.


After the class, students will write a briefing note about their countries’ reliance on commodity trading. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.


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