Constraints faced by MSMEs hindering economic growth in Equatorial Guinea

Guest blog written by Cesar A. Mba Abogo

I signed up for the Implementing Public Policy (IPP) course after having completed Leading Economic Growth (LEG), where my understanding of the economic growth challenges facing my country, Equatorial Guinea, had been literally reset. Attending LEG was a bit of cathartic therapy for me, as I had been Minister of Finance, Economy and Planning in a particularly exceptional period. From April 2019 to October 2020, Equatorial Guinea had closed a bailout programme with the IMF and launched a wide-ranging catalogue of macro-fiscal stabilisation and governance improvement measures. In the midst of these far-reaching reforms, COVID19 had emerged as an existential challenge for which humanity was ill-prepared. LEG helped me to sharpen my understanding of economic complexity, to re-examine my tenure as head of my country’s Ministry of Finance, and to understand a notion that now seems like a no-brainer: the change space, this chessboard where reformers struggle between what is feasible in the local ecosystem versus the legitimacy required by external demands.

Throughout LEG, the growth challenge I focused on was the low productivity of the non-oil sector as an obstacle to inclusive growth. The narrative and available data led me to the thesis that this low productivity was an unintended consequence of Equatorial Guinea’s over dependence on the oil sector for more than two decades. I came to a somewhat stark but hopeful conclusion: Equatorial Guinea was crossing a bridge under turbulent waters on a journey into the unknown that required an adaptive strategy that generates knowledge and facilitates evidence-based, sequential and iterative decision-making.

Continue reading Constraints faced by MSMEs hindering economic growth in Equatorial Guinea

Economic growth transformation in Azerbaijan using real world examples

Guest blog by Namig Naghdaliyev

One of the common age-old questions we are thinking about is a positional competition between theory and practice. This question is of utmost importance and common in economic policymaking and implementation.

Before taking this course, I was familiar with the Harvard Kennedy School’s advancing role in building threshold points, not only theory but also practice. This course assured me and made me more than confident that HKS is one of the main engines of adding global public policy values.

Continue reading Economic growth transformation in Azerbaijan using real world examples

Adventures in Public Policy Implementation: Confronting a Hero Complex in the Quest for the One True Goal

(aka The One with the Giant Marshmallow Monster)

Guest blog by Mario Ivan Martija

“Select a policy you would like to implement in the next six months” said the IPP program’s instructions. Easy. Having previously led programs that benefited a few Baja California’s industries, choosing another program for a successful short-term implementation would be a walk in the park, especially that now I would have the added-value and glamour attached to a Harvard methodology.

Or so I arrogantly thought.

Continue reading Adventures in Public Policy Implementation: Confronting a Hero Complex in the Quest for the One True Goal

Promoting design for global business in Brazil

Guest blog by Isabel Tarrisse da Fontoura

“The flow of life envelopes everything. That’s life: it heats up and cools down, it tightens and then loosens up, it becomes calm and then unrests. What it wants from us is courage”.

João Guimaraes Rosa

1. An act of courage

The Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) program Implementing Public Policy (IPP) is an act of courage. It is so from the day you decide to commit to six months of action learning in the middle of a global pandemic to, today, as we end this journey with 142 peers from 47 countries and the HKS team, and we’re moving ahead working on pressing challenges we care too much about to let go.

The good part is that every ending is a new beginning.

Continue reading Promoting design for global business in Brazil

Using a problem-driven approach in Ethiopia

Guest blog by Abdu Nuru

It was my director in my department who sent the email to us briefing us about the program. It specifically addressed those who were in a more senior leadership level as it would be more important. I read the whole email and I knew it wasn’t meant for me because it said case team leaders and blah blah blah. And I thought who said that? The last thing I could get is rejection and if I am accepted, it would be a great experience. I applied and I was admitted.

That was my journey to the first formal online program, and it ended up being a very important course especially to people who work in a similar sector to me. From defining a regional or national growth problem to devising a high level and inclusive strategy, Leading Economic Growth offered miraculous insights and approaches on how to solve complex problems.

Continue reading Using a problem-driven approach in Ethiopia

Evaluating ecomonic growth in Ethiopia

Guest blog by Mohamed Omer Hussein

It was a very beneficial course for me. I learned a lot from it.

The Atlas of Economic Complexity is a godsend. It has detailed information about the imports and exports as well as the exact composition of the economic and trade activities of my country, Ethiopia. It’s also very customizable and visually appealing, and you can get what you want from it.

Continue reading Evaluating ecomonic growth in Ethiopia

Diversifying the ICT market in Brazil

Guest blog by Marcia Matsubayashi

If I could summarize this course experience in one word it is “inspiring”. I am sure all my colleagues who attended this course were inspired by the faculty to mobilize for action, since we feel more empowered (and knowledgeable) to make the impact in our societies.

Continue reading Diversifying the ICT market in Brazil

Exploring electromobility in Latin America

Guest blog by Raúl Rodríguez Molina

I decided to enroll in the IPP program as a continuation of the Leading Economic Growth Program, which I found extremely interesting. LEG gave me the opportunity to engage in group work methodologies, like PDIA, which somehow I have seen being implemented but not formally, not following a rigorous process.

I am working as an infrastructure specialist for an international development bank, the Inter-American Development Bank. Supporting countries to design effective policies for which the Bank provides financial and technical resources is the core of my job. We (the IABD) are not policy makers, but we need to work on project derived from a sound public policy exercise. I hoped that coupling LEG and IPP in such short sequence of time would give me a conceptual refresh of the framework and basics of a good Public Policy, looking at different regions of the world and from different actor’s perspectives. One crystal clear message to me is that context matters a lot, so two similar problems cannot be tackled in the same way to get the same results. That is why it is so important to implement problem deconstruction methodologies. PDIA helps you exercise a constant evaluation and questioning process to ensure you are not just moving in the right direction, but also working with all the actors needed.

Continue reading Exploring electromobility in Latin America

Building ownership for growth strategy in Mexico

Guest blog by Agustin Filippo

Economic development is predicated under the assumption that it is possible to lift people out of poverty, which is the reason that attracted so many people to the field (myself included). Countries that managed to succeed end up with a diversified and sophisticated product mix. More importantly, these economies are change-ready, and will constantly find new products and services to use themselves and exchange with the world. In the 10-week LEG program at Harvard, great care is paid to identify with precision the mechanics of economic growth and what can be done to ignite and accelerate growth in each locality. There’s a lot to be learned, although much in the form of open questions and try-it-yourself methods.

Continue reading Building ownership for growth strategy in Mexico

Leading Economic Growth: Adapting the Wyoming Energy Industry

Guest blog by Kaeci Daniels

What are some key ideas/learnings that you will take away from this course?

  • 1804 as a communication tool – The 1804 example was a good analogy to get people to understand that the problem is hard to understand. Using this example as a communication tool may be a great way to get buy-in and resources for the growth strategy team.
  • Fishbone Diagram – The fishbone diagram to is a great tool to find entry points on complex problems. Crafting the right team to develop the fishbone diagram is essential for fully grasping the growth problem and its sub-problems.
  • PDIA and SLDC – PDIA is nimble for finding and testing solutions when the problem is not well understood. SLDC can be beneficial when a problem is well defined, as shown in the Singapore example.
  • Inclusion over redistribution – This was significant. Redistribution of resources does not necessarily enable growth and it may even create disincentives for production. If government is to use public funds to promote growth, it should be done in a way that captures people outside of accessible markets and creates opportunity for new markets to emerge or be engaged. A focus on inclusion can mean the difference in a long-term widespread growth policy versus short-term accommodations.
Continue reading Leading Economic Growth: Adapting the Wyoming Energy Industry