The Promise of 100% and Finding Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Thursday, July 24, 2014

“100%, yes I am telling you…100%. The deal is ours. 100%!”

The guy sitting next to me in a Dubai-bound Emirates flight from Lagos barks on the phone, much to my dismay. It is 10 in the night; I am not quite looking forward to the 8-hour journey, and craving for some peace and quiet. There are times in a traveller’s life when the mind just gives way and the spirit drops. The act of lugging oneself from one dismal place to another, flight after flight, lounge to lounge and time zone to time zone gives rise to lassitude that the mind doesn’t want to get over. I call it ‘numbness energy’ when nothing makes sense anymore.

It was one of those moments — the end of a long day and the start of a long flight — and the knowledge of another impending long day after arriving at the destination. Returning from Africa’s most populous city — and the heart of its fastest-growing economy — after four days of meetings, bad traffic and long hours, is tough.

Business booms in Lagos, the commercial capital of Africa’s largest economy. But when was the last time you saw a businessman, particularly from my part of the world making a 100%-commitment on the phone to some distant, trusting business partner? It was too much to handle, especially when it ended with an assurance like this: “Our friends are 100% with us, and their guru has given his 100% blessings.”

Source: Forbes (link opens in a new window)

Base of the Pyramid, impact investing