February 2009

There has been a fantastic response to the Sponsor a Supply Chain idea. Several people in the UK see this as a viable option for some of those industries that are suffering sudden decline in demand to grow viable business overseas; others from India, South America and places like Poland see this as a means to solve and develop short term productivity issues; medium term skills development and longer term market opportunities. 

It has provided an excellent forum to illustrate how logistics can transform quality of life and economies in the informal and emerging world. Equally, and suprisingly for some, it demonstrates how the formal world can play a role and benefit directly from such transformation. Affordable housing has provoked several useful e mail exchanges and skype debates. Here’s a summary … (more…)


Supply chains compete not companies is an insight from Professor Martin Christopher that T L uses as a fundamental principle. On the one hand, this means that no company stands alone and partnerships become the norm as non core activities are outsourced. On the other hand, global sourcing has triggered the need to coordinate various tiers of suppliers, aggregatating capacities from formal SMEs and informal micro enterprises alike.

This insight opens up fresh opportunities to link clusters from Regions all over the world. This can lead to the development of hybrid business models that explore synergies and common purpose between the informal economy and formal markets. For example, what about linking a mature cluster in the developed world with one in an emerging economy as a means to transform outcomes and accelerate sustainable growth? (more…)

Everywhere you go in the emerging and fractured world there is evidence of people surviving or, businesses growing due to support from family and friends overseas.

Various sources estimate that 10% of world population benefit or even depend on remittances. More than 150 million migrant workers are sending back over 1.5 billion cash transfers amounting to over $300 billion per year and most of that money goes to immediate household consumption. For Economies like Cape Verde that means 34% of GDP; it is 30% in Afghanistan and, in all, 57 countries are receiving more than $1 billion per year in remittances. What happens when workers are laid off? (more…)

Ideas, knowledge, science, hospitality, travel – these are things which should of their nature be international. But let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible and, above all, let finance be primarily national. Yet, at the same time, those who seek to disembarrass a country of its entanglements should be very slow and wary. It should not be a matter of tearing up roots but of slowly training a plant to grow in a different direction.


Over the last half century, Africa has received more than $1 trillion from the west and yet, remains in dire straits. And now, the Recession is likely to restrict the level of aid that will be made available from the Developed World. Or, will it?

The value of Aid in the recession of 1990 to 93 fell by 25% and did not recover the same level until 2002. Cafod, the Catholic aid agency, recently estimated that the current crisis and the weakening of sterling could cut $41 billion in real terms out of the UK foreign aid budget over the next seven years and, despite an increase in spending, the Gates Foundation reports a 20% drop in asset value of their Fund.

Where does this leave efforts to transform whole economies and, put in place a framework for sustainable growth where the need is greatest? There are very different views on value for money and, how best to tackle this complex issue … (more…)

As Chinese factories close, the post Tiananmen Square “growth pact” between the government and citizens is fraying at the edges. Shutting factories and unemployment was not in the equation. And the power of disaffected people is clear in a democracy too. Take the last Indian elections when, despite growth at 10.4% in the previous quarter, the ruling government was ousted.

Meanwhile, in the Developed World, Fat Cats apologise and unemployment rises. Before we get wrapped up in the moral outrage let’s be careful that our focus is not to rebuild a better yesterday. This crisis is being played out against a massive rise in global population and serious gaps between the rich and poor. The case for inclusive growth needs to be heard. Faced with depressed demand we cannot afford to ignore the potential for all sorts of products and services in emerging markets and the Majority World. (more…)

We all know by now that roughly 80% of our global energy needs come from carbon emitting fuels. The challenge ahead of us is stunning. A McKinsey Report highlights that we get $740 of GDP for every ton of Co2. All the Plans in place argue that we need to move to $7,300. This 10 x increase is comparable to the shift in productivity of the 19th century Industrial revolution and we want to get there by 2030.

What about the Majority World? Logistics can play a key role in transforming connectivity for remote rural areas and, in ways of work and living within congested urban communities. What more can be done to deliver environmental change in the Majority World? (more…)

Next Page »