Fragile, unstable, war-torn countries are perhaps not the easiest places to do business – but they are also the places offering the potential to make the greatest difference in ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. These are the places where economic and social progress could bring peace and stability. These are the places where the private sector can combine investments with impact.
$4 billion are missing annually to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It is becoming increasingly clear that we need to succeed in channeling private sector investment to poor and unstable countries. Projects and efforts need to focus on creating new markets, attracting willing investors and actively realizing the SDGs.
The list of fragile states – a warning signal?
The Global Economy and Development Program published a working paper in 2016, which included a list of 50 fragile countries (see p. 44). Nepal and Madagascar, our two NEXUS Project countries, grace the list with their presence as well. Should investment opportunities based in these notorious countries trigger a warning signal? The answer is “no”. They should ring the bell for an exciting opportunity, bearing both great chances as well as challenges allowing new learnings.
We believe that those who succeed in doing business in fragile states present talent to master any condition, which increases respect and reputation. The World Bank is calling for more ways to draw in investors who are willing to take chances in countries that have missed to keep up with development.
Paving the way and absorbing the risk
The holistic NEXUS Concept offers an approach to venture into these markets. Innovators and early adopters need to pave the way into these markets and lay out more appealing opportunities to investors. By having skin in the game, meaning co-owning the responsibility for the project, WECONNEX absorbs some of the risk and bears full interest in the success of the endeavor. Collaborating with strategic partners already active in the region, working hand in hand with the local population and working in phases from pilot to scaling further takes risk off investors’ shoulders.
One cannot claim that the hurdles to overcome are negligible in fragile states. We have enough stories and experiences to share. But it’s these experiences that help us all to advance and if the private sector shirks these countries entirely, we can give up on reaching the SDGs by 2030 altogether. That would be a pity for all the efforts already made.
Source: nexus ch