Saturday September 24, 2011
09:30 AM - 10:30 AM
H Auditorium

Archive video link available at

In the next decade developing countries will need to induce entrepreneurs to invest trillions of dollars - at least $6 trillion over the decade - to harness unprecedented surges in their labor forces.  This scale requires a policy response with all viable tools; in particular, development agencies, policy makers and the private sector must bridge the gap between economy-wide interventions and investment at the firm level.

Industries, the 'ecosystems' in which firms operate, often provide this bridge.  Industries motivate policy-makers to make the policies and provide the public goods that reduce cost and risk for investments; constraints to growth are often industry-specific; and both the private sector and policy makers tend to think and organize in terms of industries.

In addition, given the greater density of interactions among firms within the same industry, innovation tends to diffuse within them, even when initial ideas result from cross-fertilization.  Conversely, industries which are not the site of innovation and its diffusion quickly become uncompetitive.

For these reasons, both competitive economies broadly and firm-level investment opportunities are built on competitive industries.  Almost all historical success stories have focused their approach on enhancing the competitiveness of particular industries; yet so too have many faltering countries.  Attempts to build competitive industries have been at times transformative successes and, at least as often, wasted effort.

One of the most urgent tasks facing the development community therefore is how to tilt this balance towards success.  Doing so will require, among other things, connecting thinkers and practitioners, as this plenary aimed to do: joining a prominent researcher, a senior official, and a private sector leader.

Key questions addressed included:
  • How can developing countries create competitive industries that generate and attract significant investment and foster innovation?
  • What are the most frequent causes of success and failure, and how do those interact with different local contexts - economic, political and social?
  • What are the most effective means to deeply engage the private sector, while avoiding capture and minimizing the effects of vested interests?

Panelist(s):Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana , State Minister of National Planning (BAPPENAS), Indonesia
Daniel Gad , Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Omega Farms, Ethiopia
Juan Carlos Paiz , Co-founder and President, Pani-Fresh, Guatemala
Moderator(s):Martin Wolf , Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times, United Kingdom

Organized by:Jamile Ramadan and Ilias Skamnelos, Financial and Private Sector Development – World Bank Group

Last modified on: 09/28/2011 05:09:39 PM