This is an interesting article which I shared today, on how Western companies are avoiding investments in Africa due to their misperceptions of the continent. Despite the fact that the IMF is projecting Africa to host 12 of the 20 fastest-growing national economies over the next 5 years, many of these companies remain ignorant to the changes that have taken place in the region over the last two decades. Without good market intelligence one can easily understand how this can happen.
The reality is that most executives get their information from the mass media, and the vast majority of these outlets barely cover the region in any depth. When there is news, it inevitably ends up being about war or hunger instead of the many ongoing success stories. The same can also be said of the Middle East and Latin America (in the case of the latter, this is gradually changing). With such falsely constructed world-views, it should come as no surprise that many businesses miss these significant global growth and investment opportunities.
The fact remains that a dedicated market intelligence effort is required to identify these opportunities. Though the media is partly to blame, very few people outside of such countries will be familiar with their internal workings. As a demonstration of this truth, observe the list above of the top twenty countries in 2012, based on annual GDP growth, and ask yourself how much you really know about any one of those countries. Now keep in mind that the average global GDP growth rate for 2012 was 2.2%.
No matter how difficult or miserable the economic circumstances might be in a specific region, there is always the opportunity to either survive or grow further and faster in another market. Will there be corruption and other difficult circumstances to be faced in such countries? Possibly, or rather likely, but market intelligence gives one the power to manage risk and to capitalise on potential opportunities.
Today, more than ever, global trade and the lowering of economic barriers has allowed businesses to more easily expand into other countries and to benefit from the opportunities that lie all around. By providing you with the necessary information to break into new markets, market intelligence allows you to be a pioneer, further placing you ahead of competitors that will jump on the bandwagon when it's entirely too late. Given the above, few if any businesses can afford to remain blind to the many ongoing developments around the world.
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