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Many developing countries have been sleeping giants, but they are fast becoming some of the most exciting regions in the world.   There has never been a higher degree of convergence in a shared agenda and associated political will for prioritising human development to underpin entrepreneurship and economic growth. The entrepreneurial culture is vibrant with many viewing entrepreneurships as a good career opportunity and in fact these regions have the highest share in the world of adults starting or running new businesses. New industrialisation strategies are focusing on leveraging this dynamism and targeting fast-growing start-up enterprises which have potential to create new and quality jobs for the future world that we will be living in.

Technology is already demonstrating how game-changing developments can rapidly impact business opportunities and public services. In areas such as banking, agriculture, health, and even transportation, developing countries have been quick to leverage simple advanced techniques such as mobile financial transactions and drone ports.

One of the great advantages developing countries have is that there’s far less legacy to get in the way. Having lagged in innovation in the past, these countries have been better placed this time to leverage on technology, mobile ones especially, allowing them to leapfrog several development stages that are typical elsewhere. Africa and Latin America are embracing technological disruption in a way that sets it apart from other continents. What marks out the digital revolution isn’t the technology that underpins it, so much as the growing affordability, accessibility and, until recently, largely untapped demand that have made its advances so rapid. Developing countries are becoming early adopters rather than followers. Instances include some of the highest mobile growth rates in the world.

Business relationships are however immature. Partnership between government, business and providers is needed to make technology accessible and affordable. Realising the potential value requires a better understanding of what is available.

A strategic approach is needed for developing capabilities, building trust, broadening access, fostering innovation and ensuring that everyone benefits. Capitalising on these potential opportunities demands a complete rethink of customer engagement and business development strategies.

The Corona virus pandemic has made everyone finally realise that the global focus on profit and “what’s in it for me” is unsustainable. “Working together” has become the catch phrase and the “new normal” will include a much greater focus on collaboration, our planet, people, and purpose. Developing countries have suffered for too long from exploitation, climate change and corruption. Success in the future will be all about a better form of globalisation based on value adding relationships within and between countries.

In a complex, technology driven world, these relationships need to be mature and smart. Business Relationship Management (BRM) is key in these regions because it drives collaboration, teamwork, and trusted relationships. BRM facilitates the stimulation of value creating ideas, shared responsibility, and not simply passing the buck or expecting leaders to instantly grasp an understanding of complex issues.

To quote the BRM BOK:[1] “Business Relationship Management stimulates, surfaces and shapes (public sector and) business demand for products and services and ensures that the potential business value (improved public services and economic growth) from those products and services is captured, optimized and recognized”.

In the developing world context, there is a tremendous opportunity for BRM to leverage the youngest demographics globally with people hungry for change and success. Often there are no existing investments or infrastructures that inhibit change.

The challenge for stakeholders though is being able to understand the opportunities available and to trust and believe in the potential outcome. If service providers and product vendors are to capitalise on the vast opportunities that exist they need to interact differently – have “skin in the game” – invest for the long term and share value goals with their customers as “business partners”.

BRM can truly help drive business success because it facilitates value adding relationships and strategic partnering between providers and business. It recognises the significance of communicating clearly and building trust, and most importantly, it focuses on the end game – value for both the business partner (governments, commerce, and citizens) as well as for the provider.

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