A great many developing nations are in economic crisis today, but not exactly because they’re doing the wrong things. Rather, they’re doing the right things for times they no longer live in. That may seem a subtle distinction and little consolation, especially in the countries of Sub-Sahara Africa – Nigeria, Niger, Cameroun, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, etc., whose behind the leading industrial democracies every year. But we have worked extensively in that region, have learned from and advised virtually all of its leaders in the arena of competitiveness, and we have found reason to hope.
It is a hope grounded in a framework for change, which we believe has helped our clients to take action, a framework in which the competitive advantages of knowledge supersede the advantage of nature. Moreover, hope is kept alive by a growing conviction that the leaders of developing nations are open to change as never before and are willing to commit themselves to the new fundamentals of economic developments without really having made a success of the old ones. Countries do not have to follow outdated assumptions to the bitter end.
What is less certain is whether those new principles of economic development will actually be put into practice soon enough to make a difference to the people of our own generation. The situation is urgent yet the solutions cannot be rushed African leaders will have to work their way through layer upon layer of inherited polemic, cynicism, and bureaucratic rigidity.