One of the favourite narratives of Emerging Markets Thinkerati is that the underlying demographics (and demographic dividend) of emerging markets makes them compelling. There are 1B people in India! 200m in Nigeria! 274m in Indonesia!
I’m obviously excited by these regions, for all the difficulties of countires with large populations, they represent larger markets, more diverse workforce potential, and civilisational stories (i.e the Turks believe they’re the sons of the Ottoman Empire, and their industrial policy is likely inspired by that belief).
Nonetheless, I’d like to flag an alternate angle through the question: What is the design space for mid-sized countries? (<65m)? What does their path look like? Who are the good role modes here? How can iconic businesses be built and seeded and grown in such a context?
It seems like the EU, despite stagnating in recent history, has someofthe answers for what mid-cap prosperity could look like, for nations like: Libya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, etc. (All <10m populations).
Their industrial plans just need a few high growth global industries to start creating a surplus for reinvestment; Gulf States provide a neat example.
This obviously begs the question: Why the hell haven’t they succeeded yet?
Much to think about here…Right now, I am curious about theories of development for these places. If anyone has any thoughts, feel free to share.