What choice has your country made to win with its nationals and partners against the competition? When it comes to national development, you must first identify who are your customers and who is your competitor?
As a country, the people who buy your goods and services are your customers. And those who sell competing products and services to the same target customers are your competition.
In Uganda, we export products to many markets as well as sell internally. With our US $29.39 billion GDP, we are a very poor country. Out of this, 72% comes from agriculture. A total of US $3.172 is exported. Our export income is just 10.79% of our GDP. With our imports at US $4.592billion or 15.6% of our GDP, we are not progressing as we should. That is the problem that we must fix urgently.
To transform Uganda, what is our strategy?
When you have many people shouting, it is difficult to get ideas to focus on and move. Every Economist and expert has their own idea of how to transform Uganda. Add to this a plethora of economic conferences, we have so many ideas on the table that we lack clarity of which one to start with.
Which way Uganda?
To identify the best strategic choice, let’s examine how other countries did it.
Taiwan held the record for the world’s tallest building, Taipei 101 from 2004 to 2010. At a half a kilometer into the skies, Taipei 101 currently is the 4th tallest tower in the world after Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Shanghai Tower and Abraj Al Bait. This is not a mean feat for a tower whose construction started in 1999 to 2004 when it became the world’s tallest tower until 2010 when the Burj Khalifa was opened.
But strategy is not about buildings. It is about something else.
To get money to finance such kind of infrastructure and national iconic buildings, you need a strategy to use what you have. Taiwan’s turning point was around the 1990s following the massive migrations of Chinese to Taiwan. These brought a lot of energy and need to work. It is a fact: immigrants work harder and add a lot of value to the country’s GPD.
The secret of Taiwan’s raise was a cabinet decision in late 1970’s to focus on manufacturing of computer chips. All phones, computers etc require a chip to run. It is like the brain to any living thing. Taiwan manufacturing something at the center of automation in the world. The leadership was smart enough to discover at an early age the potential in chip making. They invested a lot of money into chips in terms of research and development and skills.
Today, Taiwan is the world’s leading chip manufacturer supplying the world with chips made in Taiwan.
Take a closer look at your country and ask: what strategic sector have the leaders identified to focus on to position as the global leader in that line. The choice of chip manufacturing provided a strategic fit with Taiwan’s culture of fast thinking, innovation and agility. People are always on the move. Think fast and have diverse mix and culture making innovation and above the top thinking needed to make chips that are always changing by the hour to meet the growing global innovation needs and computing power.
That is what a national strategy is all about. A strategic choice.
To be continued.