From China to Chile, from South Korea to South Africa, there is little debate about whether or not private investment is essential for prosperity and growth. But private investment too rarely benefits the poorest of the poor--precisely those who need it most.
Some blame an unfair world trading system, in which wealthy nations knock down all trade barriers except their own. Others point to the debt burdens shouldered by poor countries, or to the volatility of emerging markets.
But regulatory obstacles and unexploited marketplace gaps also prevent private capital from flowing to the poorest countries. This keeps small businesses in poor nations and regions from reaching their full potential.
Based on our own experiences--in Mexico, which has opened up to foreign investment and trade, and in Canada, which is a leading aid donor and a major source of private investment in developing countries--we are convinced that many of these problems can be identified, isolated and fixed.