I read this book on my Kindle. I could not put it down. Having spent time in many African countries doing business, this book really hit the mark about what really goes on in emerging markets in general. This man does not sit in an office in London drawing conclusions. He travelled to some really remote places in Africa – from Nigeria to Zambia to Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and more. He investigated the consequences of “Dutch Disease” (coined by The Economist in 1977 which correlates the increase in extraction of natural resources and the decline of other industries such as manufacturing or agriculture etc) in Africa all that that implies.
He really connected the dots for me around how Africa is being carved up by locals and other countries far away. There are only a few people who coordinate these efforts and they are interwoven through out how Africa’s resources are divied up. It is a clash of Titans but has impact on all of us everywhere.
What I found of most interest, based on my own experience in Africa was the expansionism of China in Africa. The message in the book is not just about Africa, it is a global issue.
The interesting questions you have to ask yourself after reading the book is this: In emerging markets around the world, is there a desire to change the game or is everyone just satisfied to have their slice or “chop” of the spoils? Is there a desire to move countries forward with investment in infrastructure that really allows everyone to live better and thrive? The habits of patronage and corruption are hard to break but in the end are corrosive and lead to much damage. If these habits could be reduced, the growth in emerging markets could be phenomenal. According to a study by the UN, 44% of the world’s population will reside in Africa by the end of the 21st century, so future of the world depends on changing the business game.
We have global standards for accounting and financial reporting, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) which most of the world has adopted or is adopting. But there are no comprehensive global standards in use for doing honest and transparent business. What is needed is global business conducted on a level playing field, where bribery and corruption are eliminated.
To learn more about the risks in emerging markets, readers may want to attend an upcoming webcast by Issues Central on June 25th. Click here for the agenda and to register.