Reflections from Practice

IBGC’s ongoing Country Management research initiative garners experience from seasoned country managers and executives working in emerging and frontier economies, as well as expertise from Fletcher School faculty and Council for Emerging Market Enterprises Fellows, to provide best practices, case studies, skill-building workshops and executive training to the next generation of international leaders in the public and private sectors.

In 2010-2011, IBGC engaged 12 students and paired them with executives in a “Reflections from Practice” exercise, in which the executives shared an event, experience or insight into country management and, with student support, developed mini-cases that were highlighted in a March 2011 conference. Please find a selection of these cases below.

Base of the Pyramid Engagement Models for Executives in Emerging Markets
by Stephen Goodman
with Nicholas Bruch
March 2011
Base of the Pyramid (BoP) and frontier market economic growth, along with the transformative social and economic utility of information and communication technology (ICT), have created a significant growth opportunity. At the same time, new business and technology models are being built in these frontier markets. This paper explores how the convergence of this ICT, business and organizational innovation is driving corporate engagement in the BoP away from solely philanthropic tactics toward mutually beneficial market-driven solutions.

How to Value Returns on Sustainability Investments in Emerging and Frontier Economies: Linking Community Outcomes and Business Value
by Veronica Nyhan Jones, Jelena Lukic
Contributing authors
Arjun Bhalla, Thibaut Millet
with Farzana Hoque
March 2011

There is growing demand from investors, shareholders, and corporate management to determine the value of sustainable investments. However, a lack of hard financial data on the financial return from social, environmental and other community investments has made it difficult for companies to assess their business benefits. This case study assesses the Financial Valuation Tool for Sustainability Investments (FV Tool) in two pilot projects: Newmont’ Ahafo gold mine in Ghana and Cairn’s oil pipeline in India. The FV Tool demonstrates how sound metrics can translate community benefits into company value in terms that are understood by the market – risk reduction, productivity gains, savings, return on investment, and enhanced reputation.  

Global Contract Manufacturer
Site Security and Corporate Risk Management in Response to Mexican Drug Cartel Violence
by Tyson Johnson
March 2011

Establishing and operating a facility in high-risk, high-crime areas brings with it a difficult question: while it is clear that effective security risk management programs must be put in place, how can a company strike a balance between the problems of having too little (ignore at your peril) and too much (high and burdensome cost)?  Any company interested in or currently operating in a high-risk environment can learn lessons that are both valuable and immediately deployable by reading this detailed account of GCM’s efforts.

Local Knowledge = Better Returns
by Robert Bragar
with Jacqueline Deelstra
March 2011

Successful entry into new and unexplored markets necessitates a profound level of local understanding. Local knowledge is driven by the establishment of a strong local network, capitalization on local resources and mitigation of local limitations. This paper offers lessons learned from operations in Africa and Peru and address the difficulties that arise in unfamiliar environments when inadequate investment is made in understanding the local landscape.

A Transitioning State Experience: Shedding Communist Processes to Create an Investment-Friendly Czech Republic
by Michael Kunz
with Christine Shepherd
March 2011

The Czech Economic Development Certification Program sought to solve a challenge that many countries face when they transition from a centrally-planned economy to a free market system: how do we attract foreign investment to support local development? In this case study, Michael Kunz and his colleagues describe how they adapted and implemented a certification program that empowered Czech cities with the skills and brand to attract foreign investment. Their experience shows that collaborating with local communities to both attract foreign investment and achieve their own internal development goals is a successful method for promoting development in transitioning economies.

Business, Diplomacy and Frontier Markets Best Practice for Business Leaders
by John D. Moore, Kathleen Sullivan
March 2011

In today’s world of increasingly complex webs of linkage across a spectrum of business, government and economic issues, there is—at least in parts of the West—a growing emphasis on applying robust processes and technology to managing risk. While certain types of problems lend themselves more to being resolved or mitigated by such application, emerging markets pose human-centric and often politicized challenges to investors. This paper explores the diplomatic discipline as a potential source of tactics for business engagement with government in country and state emerging market contexts.

Managing Government Policies in Cameroon: Corporate Diplomacy Meets Track I Diplomacy
by Andrew M. Vesey
March 2011

Multinational companies operating in emerging markets can secure their business advantage by engaging and interfacing with the local communities and the public sector. This case describes how in Cameroon, AES energy company faced a volatile political and economic environment which caused the government to renege on an agreement. In response, AES pursued a strategy of engaging and mobilizing key stakeholders in face-to-face meetings which resulted in a compromise that secured needed public support for AES’ operations.

How to Operate in Emerging Markets without Proper Consumer Data
by Elias Yousif Shashati
with Fatima Asvat
March 2011

Can Unilever sell toothpaste in a country like Sudan, where even access to drinking water is limited?  What can multinational companies learn from a local bakery’s success in introducing commercial bread in the Sudanese market? Companies expanding their operations to emerging markets may lack basic information about market size, consumer preferences, and competitors. This paper offers lessons learned from local firms who have effectively overcome these hurdles.