India, an emerging global economic power, has the potential to become the largest economy in the world, Facebook Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg said on Friday.
Sandberg, who served as Chief of Staff for the US Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton, said the over $ 2 trillion Indian economy has immense potential to create jobs and drive growth, especially with its huge base of small and medium businesses (SMBs).
"India has the potential to become the largest economy in the world. And if you look at economic growth, particularly recently, jobs is a very hard situation all over the world. From the US to developing markets, everyone is very concerned about jobs."
"And majority of the growth, as I understand it, is certainly here, certainly in the US. In most countries, I have visited, SMBs are the way to growth," she told PTI.
Explaining further, Sandberg, whose previous stint was as Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, said "the answer to growth is entrepreneurship".
"Individuals are creating businesses and employing other people, and in India, the SMB growth is strong. And Internet provides more growth stories to SMBs. People are connecting to people and getting more customers and that's what leads to economic growth," she added.
Micro, small and medium businesses contribute nearly eight per cent of India's GDP, 45 per cent of the manufacturing output and 40 per cent of exports.
The sector is estimated to have given employment to about 595 lakh people in over 261 lakh such enterprises throughout the country.
India, which is considered as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, saw its growth rate plummeting to less than five per cent in the last two years.
However, the industry is hopeful of a rebound with a new stable government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is widely perceived as a pro-business leader
Modi had also said recently that there is a need to administer "bitter medicine" to revive the ailing economy.
The International Monetary Fund has projected a growth rate of 6.4 per cent next year, in line with the gradual strengthening of global markets.
Reminiscing her association with India, the former management consultant with McKinsey & Company and an economist with the World Bank said she started her career in India in 1981 working with the World Bank on Leprosy.
"And now when I look at leprosy, it's no longer a threat here. The way I see it, India has grown so much in the past two decades," she added.