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Infrastructure Is Critical to Sustained Economic Development in the Global South – Here’s Why

Infrastructure Is Critical to Sustained Economic Development in the Global South – Here’s Why. Infrastructure Is a Force Multiplier for Foreign Direct Investment.

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It’s not overstating things to say that the world depends on infrastructure. Without ports, railways, roadways, airports, bridges, utilities, and the like, business doesn’t get done.

In much of the world, the infrastructure conversation revolves around maintaining or upgrading what’s already in place. The United States hasn’t built a major new commercial airport in nearly 30 years, and even ground-based transportation infrastructure is challenging to complete due to ballooning construction costs and onerous approval processes. (New York’s 1.8-mile Second Ave Subway is widely regarded as the most expensive rapid transit project ever constructed on a per-mile basis.)

Of course, high development costs and permitting issues aren’t unique to first-world countries like the United States. They affect infrastructure projects in the developing world as well. But, by definition, building new infrastructure is more critical in the underdeveloped economies that collectively make up the “Global South” than in Europe, the United States, and other high-income parts of the world.

Unfortunately, key stakeholders don’t always fund badly needed infrastructure in places like Africa, Latin America, and Central Asia. Here’s why they’d do well to remove barriers to innovative development.

1. Infrastructure Is a Force Multiplier for Foreign Direct Investment

Modern physical infrastructure is a vital precursor to local economic development. It’s also a force multiplier for foreign direct investment. To many international businesses and high-net-worth individuals, infrastructure quality is a make-or-break factor in developing-economy investment decisions.

Recent infrastructure development in places like the Southern African Development Community (SADC) confirms this thesis. From 2016 on, foreign direct investment in the SADC’s logistics infrastructure increased sharply, spurring private investment in related projects as the decade drew to a close.

“From warehousing and last-mile fulfillment to the road, rail, and port infrastructure, these investments underpin an increasingly stable and prosperous regional economy,” writes Christopher Roy Garland, a business advisor and economic development expert based in Botswana.

2. Infrastructure Improvements Brighten Prospects for Local Entrepreneurs

Infrastructure improvements don’t only redound to the benefit of foreign governments, grantmaking organizations, and international conglomerates. The biggest beneficiaries are often local entrepreneurs who secure contracts with these organizations and develop businesses downstream of their activities.

Vibrant entrepreneurial communities take decades to build. Once they’re present, however, they’re vital assets for their host countries. Their market activities support growing middle classes, which in turn help consumer economies that spur further local investment. And by employing unskilled and semi-skilled workers in their home countries, they provide an under-discussed but crucial political function, boosting economic morale and dampening potential sources of social instability.

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2. Infrastructure Investment Provides Sponsor Nations With Political Leverage

Initial investments in large-scale infrastructure projects in the developing world very often do require active outside stakeholders. China’s Belt and Road initiative is merely the highest-profile example of concerted developing-world infrastructure investment as a more prosperous nation’s foreign policy project. The United States has USAID; other advanced economies make an intentional foreign direct investment for political purposes.

Like it or not, this is the global state of affairs in the early 21st century. It’s the sincere hope of most global development stakeholders that policy-driven FDI will one day cease to be a driving factor in developing-world infrastructure investment. Still, that day remains well over the horizon.

4. Stable, Prosperous Economies Enable Geographic Diversification for Risk-Averse International Investors

As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats. When the groundwork laid by targeted infrastructure investments succeeds in stabilizing a country’s politics and raising its ceiling for economic growth, a broader class of risk-averse global investors takes notice.

These investors, both retail and institutional, vote with their dollars. They place bets on the economic future and create virtuous feedback loops for developing economies.

They also pave the way for other investors for whom geographic diversification is essential only when achievable without undue risk. And that’s the point at which a country or region can say, “Yes, we are open for business.”

5. Better Infrastructure Means Shared Prosperity

The history of the past 200 years would likely have been very different for European and North American nations without sustained public and private infrastructure investment in those parts of the world.

When some future generation looks back at our moment in time, let’s hope they’ll have something similar to say about the trajectory of infrastructure investment in the developing world. Let’s hope they’ll see a sustained and fruitful campaign to unlock the economic potential of dozens of nations and billions of individual humans.

Let’s hope. And let’s work together to make it happen. Because better roads, bridges, ports, broadband — these are the raw ingredients for a more prosperous and productive future. We owe it to generations to come to invest today.

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Business

7 Simple Ways to Save Your Business Money

Here are seven simple ways to wave your business money and improve your bottom line. Switch up your marketing strategies.

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Many Factors Define Business Laptops Efficiency

When you dreamed of opening your business, you probably mostly thought about how much money you could make. Sure, you liked the thought of working for yourself and possibly making your hours, but bringing in the dough was at the top of your mind. You may not have considered how necessary your expenses would be to run a successful business.

You want a good return on investment with everything you do. You won’t keep much of the beautiful revenue you see on your financial statement if you spend too much. You need to take every step possible to save money to keep it in your pocket. While you might think that all you have left are difficult and uncomfortable decisions, there may be more ways than you ever realized to do so. Here are seven simple ways to wave your business money and improve your bottom line.

1. Switch Up Your Marketing Strategy

Many businesses think that to succeed, they have to get their brand in front of as many eyeballs as possible and hope that a big enough chunk makes purchases. However, this type of marketing is overly expensive and is not practical. Too many prominent audience members have no chance of ever wanting or needing the advertised product in the first place.

To save money and be more efficient, you can tailor and target your marketing to fewer people but with a higher percentage who will be interested in your product. The best way to do this is through social media marketing and search engine optimization.

Social media advertisements can target people with common interests and geographical locations with your ideal customer. Search engine optimization is the process of developing your website so that it appears high on search rankings for specific keywords. If a customer finds you this way, they are actively searching for something similar to what you offer.

2. Automation

There are specific tasks that are necessary but are also expensive, time-consuming, and generally hated by everyone in the office. Data entry is one such task. Luckily, in this day and age, there are many solutions out there to automate business processes and make life easier for everyone.

Using automation solutions is cheaper than hiring someone. Plus, it can streamline those processes so they are done faster. In addition, you can have data ready to go whenever you need it. You can also automate payroll, accounts payable and receivable, and much more.

How can Healthcare Companies Leverage Email Marketing Campaigns

3. Outsourcing

Much like automation, outsourcing can save you a bundle by taking specific tasks out of the hands of your employees. Sometimes it’s not worth recruiting, hiring, and training someone to do a job that doesn’t take that much time out of a day.

Instead of paying someone full-time wages for part-time work, you can outsource to an expert who will only get paid for their work. This can be accounting, office assistance, human resources, or anything else. If you don’t need someone on-site and full-time, look into your outsourcing options.

4. Insurance

The last thing you should do is remove coverage to save money. You need whatever protection you can get. However, you can rationalize the range you have. For example, you need general liability insurance in case of a lawsuit. If you have a vehicle, then you will need commercial auto insurance. Service-based businesses will need professional liability insurance.

However, if there is anything you are paying for that you either don’t need or that doesn’t apply to your company, then you can remove it. Every year you should examine your policies to ensure that you have everything you need and don’t have anything you don’t. This is also a chance to shop around for better prices.

5. Cut Expenses, Not Employees

Instead of laying off your valuable employees, you could look at expenses and perks related to employment that may not be necessary. For instance, if you have a regular staff lunch or provide snacks and drinks in the break room daily, you might have to cut them.

Of course, this should only be done in dire situations since you do not want to upset your staff. However, if it has to be done, clearly explain the problem so that everyone understands why you need to take that step.

6. Switch To Remote Work

When Covid-19 first ravaged the country, millions of people switched to remote work to minimize contact with other people. Now, working remotely has become very common. If you can switch some of your workers to remote jobs, you can move your business to a smaller office. You don’t have to have a central office if you are remote. Building costs are some of the biggest a business can have, and the more you have to work from home, the more you can save.

7. Fewer Services

You may be able to shift some of your maintenance tasks to your employees. For example, instead of having cleaning services come in, you can make it mandatory for staff to clean up their areas and empty their garbage. If you need cleaning services, you can always cut down on how often they come.

Just switching from twice a week to once a week will cut those costs in half. There may be other regular services you don’t want to get rid of, but they may not be necessary. Rationalize everything to ensure you spend as little as possible while keeping up appearances.

Saving money is almost as important as making it. Every cent that is spent means that there are fewer cents in your pocket. However, it can be hard to see what changes you can make when examining your operations. This list lets you know what expenses can be removed to save your business money and improve your overall return on investment.

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