March 14, 2007
Development Investing & Indiscipline
I just came away from one of the most profoundly frustrating meetings in a while.
Talking with some local business people about potential financing for an investment project (in real industry, for a change).
Not a bad proposition.
Except for the life of me I can't get them to express their god damned concepts and value proposition.
Based on the particulars of the people I am talking to, past experience, and this proposition, I lay much of the blame on the idiot development community and development financing.
Let me note that I am not against development financing as such, but as I see if executed it's often retarded and frequently counter-productive in the long run.
First, the local emerging market "entrepreneur" or investment promoter gets accustomed to making "we're poor so finance us" arguments. Development arguments. Arguments as to why this will soak up unemployed, etc.
So does the governments, in terms of both their analysis and their approach to the private sector - including the outside private sector.
This leads to investments being pitched based on investment for social reasons, not understanding how to make a business argument that is clear to the private investor. We need, we need, is not a goddamned argument for a value proposition. I spent two goddamned hours going round and round in circles trying to get these guys (who do not drool on themselves, else I would have given up) to make cogent arguments as value propositions to the outside investor or potential investor (whether financial or even better, industrial).
I'll leave aside how irritating it was to keep explaining the purpose of off-shore SPVs for the outside investor, for tax efficiency and even more so, risk management (risk exposure - the operating assets are what they are, but other liquid assets if you don't need them in country may be more efficient to keep elsewhere. Just in case Ibn K or Ibn Y decide that, man, they really like that asset and want to keep it.). It's not a fucking personal insult to suggest that it would make your proposition more attractive to people who don't know you and your country to place a pass-through investment vehicle off-shore in a well-known jurisdiction to give the partners comfort. (Mind you, this is not key or a deal breaker as such, it was a side discussion and suggestion from a party, I am just irritated at the stupidity of the reaction).
But returning to the development aspect. So many of these goddamned Development Finance Schemes basically have a "sit up and beg little Emerging Markets Doggies" approach, and don't seriously force the local into making actual business arguments. The habit of rambling on about World Bank objectives, development objectives, how the government is committed to social developments, etc. ... is a waste of time and undermines their skills in focusing on value propositions. Never mind the endless Wasta arguments. Yeah, yeah, you bring fucking Wasta. Well whoopdidoda.
What isn't going to convince Company X that they should locate here as opposed to China.
And the private investor DOESN'T GIVE A FLYING BLOODY FUCK about your government's whanking on about youth and the lot. Save that for the press conferences when the deal is signed. Talk to me about management teams, about logistics, about..... VALUE.
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I love it when you're pissed off like this.
Posted by: eerie at March 14, 2007 05:57 PM
Sorry, but what's "wasta", exactly? Clout, connections, influence, something like that?
Posted by: sglover at March 14, 2007 06:24 PM
Wasta is a mostly Eastern Arabic term used to convey the idea of vaguely official connexions and clout.
As in he's got the Wasta to get the license from the Ministry.
It's also used in a wider sense, to be fair.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at March 14, 2007 06:27 PM
Nowhere have I seen such whanking so common as among Palestinians (both inside and outside the green line). A population of consanguines whose elite is transformed to a state of beggars, they're so screwed, I came to despise the lot. They fucking need Israel for the victimhood argument that they use to gain crumbs.