Rob Katz

Next Billions Swarm Davos; Quadir Calls for an End to Aid

World Economic ForumIt was a high profile news day for the development-through-enterprise community today. First, a report was published at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland entitled The Next Billions: Unleashing Business Potential in Untapped Markets. The report was produced by the Boston Consulting Group; Francisco and I were able to see an early version – we encourage everyone to check it out.

Is there much new here? Yes and no. There’s not much in the way of new data, nor is there much as far as new analysis (if you’ve been following at all, most of the points in here are old hat.) Still, for a report to come out at the World Economic Forum about the BoP and specifically, the “next billions” is huge. Important people go to Davos. They listen. Then they go back home and, in theory, they act. So this is a huge day for the development through enterprise world. I got an e-mail from one colleague calling it a “stop the presses” moment. As we have no actual presses here at NextBillion, perhaps not literally, but you get the idea.

The other big news story of the day was a great op-ed written by Iqbal Quadir in the Wall Street Journal. Entitled “Foreign Aid, Bad Governments: Helping entrepreneurs is the right approach,” Quadir argues that the Cold War model of direct aid is broken and, instead, we should focus on lowering trade barriers and funding transformative small and medium enterprises.

Couldn’t agree more.

Francisco and I will chew on these over the weekend and hope to have something more substantive by way of analysis for Monday. In the meantime, happy reading.