Is 2018 the year to invest in emerging markets?
This was a question that came to mind a few weeks ago when I travelled to Hyderabad, India for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), which big global names including the United States' first daughter, Ivanka Trump, attended.
I was part of a group of journalists from 18 countries around the world who met with global entrepreneurs as well as the people investing in them.
One of the groups we met with was the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) - a US government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets.
OPIC representatives had attended the GES in India, where it has a number of projects supporting lending to female entrepreneurs and small businesses.
OPIC provides direct loans and guarantees of up to $250 million to small businesses looking to move into emerging markets.
It also gives companies investing in these countries much-needed political risk insurance.
In November, the Australian government introduced a similar initiative to support social entrepreneurship and impact investment in our region.
The new $40 million Emerging Market Impact Investment Fund is aimed at leveraging private investment in small and medium enterprise in the Asia-Pacific.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the fund, which will use loans, equity, guarantees and other financial instruments to invest in funds that target early-stage SMEs.
"EMIIF will have social impact at its core, supporting businesses that benefit poor communities through their products, services, supply chains or employment practices - including those that advance gender equality," she said in a statement.
"From caf?? owners in Bangladesh to sustainable agriculture producers in Indonesia, these enterprises will benefit from a new approach to foreign aid."
The fund will also encourage investment in enterprises that positively impact women.
While investors moved away from emerging market stocks after the Global Financial Crisis - equities crashed more than 60 per cent when the crisis hit and investors quickly lost interest - higher projected growth rates in rapidly developing economies like of China and India brought investors back.
According to data from FE Analytics, as of May 31, 2017, the average returns for emerging market share funds was almost 21 per cent over the year.
The driver? The strong underlying economic performance of emerging market countries.
According to the IMF, emerging and developing economies account for about 60 per cent of global GDP.
They contributed more than 80 per cent of global growth since the 2008 financial crisis.
And they will continue to given China, India, and Indonesia account for 40 per cent of the world's population.
Emerging markets are also helping reduce reduce global poverty.
China, for instance, has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty over the past three decades, the IMF said.
Australian investors have long held a strong home bias when it comes to where they put their money.
And obviously, emerging markets come with huge risks, which need to be carefully considered.
But analysts are predicting higher rates of return over the coming decade.
Citibank analysts are among those that think emerging market stocks will thrive in 2018.
Of course, investing in emerging markets isn't just about making a buck.
It can help growing populations in developing economies improve their lives and empower positive social change.
Governments and businesses are rightly recognising this.
The writer travelled to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit as a guest of the US State Department.