November 2008

In other words, 4,300 children die of diahorrea every day – which is second only to pneumonia and more than deaths from measles, malaria and HIV combined. The trouble is that Jumbo Jets falling out of the skies and photo opportunities at the opening of new schools or healthcare centres have more PR clout than opening a safe toilet or, being the patron of an anti-open defecation campaign in some obscure village in Bangladesh or elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa. Behavioural change is much tougher than buildings but it is the only route to sustainable transformations … (more…)


We have touched on the MDGs and asked the question whether enough is done to integrate Logistics into the effort. The World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index has many of the answers and the LPI framework is a clear indication that improving logistics performance has become an important development policy objective and, the LPI is providing a valuable benchmark from which priorities can be agreed and delivered upon. See: Connecting to Compete: Trade Logistics in the Global Economy (2007). (more…)

In 2000, 189 countries adopted the United Nations Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). The idea was that developed and developing nations alike would work together to reduce global poverty by 2015. Eight key goals were agreed. We are now halfway towards the target date and despite some significant achievements, most of the MDGs are way off track. Over the next few weeks we’d like to take a closer look at how Logistics plays and can play a part in accelerating MDG progress; looking at the structure and not just the symptoms of these issues. Especially in the context of the current crisis … (more…)

At least 35 per cent, or $400 billion worth of goods, that are sourced from China could shift to countries such as India, Thailand, Vietnam among others over the next 10 years, according to a study by US-based retail and supply chain solutions firm DCB and Company. (more…)

Clearly, the Last Mile video (see below) has struck a chord in many places all over the developed, fractured and emerging world. Many thanks for the comments. More has to be done on infrastructure. However, several commentators stress that this is only part of the story. What about the roads to the marketplace and the perils beyond the potholes… (more…)

The US National Intelligence Council (NIC) has presented a view of the world that is in stark contrast to that of recent years. Predicting a world with multiple sources of power and emphasising the need to deal with diversity, the Report highlights the numbers that put a perspective on the challenges we face:  

  • 50% … The rise in demand for food by 2025 because of growing populations and switch to western dietary preferences.
  • 8 billion … Projected world population by 2025, according to the NIC Report.
  • 16% … of the 8 bn will be living in the west. In 1980, 24% of the world’s population lived in the west.
  • 39% … of all oil production will come from just six countriess: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Iraq and Russia.
  • 63% … of the world’s population is expected to be poor in 2025, fewer people than today but the poorer will be poorer. (more…)

We have moved from a three F’s crisis (Finance, Fuel and Food) that was stoking inflation to a panic that is driving a fall in prices for all three – opening up the threat of deflation. For example, in four months the price of oil has fallen $100 in four months to $50 a barrel. This is bad news for those producing countries with a high percentage of suppliers based in the local informal economy.

And yet, with population growth from 6 to 9 billion by 2050 in store, shortages will not go away. Several countries who are resource-poor are setting up deals with less developed countries to secure their long term fuel and food security. For example, African countries lack capital and technical expertise to harness natural resources and their partners in the developed world have the cash, the skills and, voracious needs. Nothing wrong in generating badly needed cash from something that you have in abundance but, how can those countries ensure that short term gain translates into long term sustainable growth?

Natural resources should trigger fundamental transformations in their economy. Logistics will play a crucial role. And yet, this is not about military logistics to sort out emergency connectivity, humanitarian logistics to enable medicine and food to reach the needy or even the Logistics of a stable economy – just yet. Can Transformational Logistics act as a catalyst for the Logistics agenda where countries trade off natural resources for short term gain? (more…)

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