Benedict Peters April 13, 2017

Steady Growth Will Spell Lasting Change In The DRC

Success, it is said, has many fathers. And nowhere is that more true than in emerging markets. A flurry of investment in a developing country will often obscure the hard work done and the risks taken to create a stable environment that supports investment in the first place. Opportunity is made to look easy, triumph made to look accidental. And all the while, the reality of readying new markets is overlooked. In my experience, this attitude only breeds impatience, and impatience has no place in economic development at the frontier. When success looks as though it can be created overnight, every setback, delay or disappointment is interpreted as a harbinger of future obstacles.

Enthusiasm wanes, investors get nervous and development efforts falter. There is no such thing as overnight success, and if the emerging markets of the African continent are to prosper, we would do well to remind ourselves of that reality. For many people, that is how the DRC is seen. Some investors have lost money; some have had their fingers burnt. The country's reputation as a development minefield is second only to its reputation as a literal minefield. And if you read about the DRC in the news, it is easy to see why investors may be wary. The country's failures, both historic and contemporary, are obsessed over by the press with a kind of morbid fascination. Politics dominate the headlines; crisis populates the airwaves. But even impartial observers can see that forcibly removing the President at a time of political impasse would be foolish.

Read the full opinion piece here