Ever since I landed in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) in the middle of the Hajj pilgrimage in 1976, while thousands of white-robed pilgrims were waiting for planes to land them to Mecca, I have been involved in emerging markets and experiences lots of the plagues that come with them. By and large, the infrastructure has improved in Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Africa remains difficult to work with.
The future of our economies is intertwined with the future of emerging markets. On the other side, emerging markets need global markets to ensure their survival and feed their population. That “objective” interconnection has to become “subjective” and help us deal with immigration, development and climate change.
Working in or for emerging markets requires a different approach: building trust is sometimes a challenge and takes time. It also requires a deep personal involvement since relationships are not just a matter of business, but involve personal connection. It makes working in emerging markets challenging but very rewarding.
They have long memories about the way we mislead and sometimes abused them. It is up to us to find ways to go beyond those initial apprehensions.