YouGov for Frontier Markets

This is a super simple idea:

→ What do most people believe in high population, otherwise opaque, language-divergent, developing markets? It strikes me that (a) foreign investment is obviously important for the development of industry in these regions (b) gaps in understanding either block future investment, or lead to failure modes within investment and (c) there are huge gaps in the information flow that represents the varieties of views, responses, and other types of primary data that are typically not collected in these markets.

→ One example of a mis-understanding of ‘thoughts and worldviews on the ground’ is the competing narratives on the role of social media and ‘democratic aspirations’ in the Arab Spring (this is an adverse information environment):

→ Another example is when a project is so viscerally opposed that it gets killed after a bunch of cap-ex:

→ Another example is the ‘crypto remittances’ narrative and poverty porn that makes for a great story for journalists but doesn’t fully represent a situation. Read the Wikipedia and this article on Agbogbloshie in Ghana as an example.

In any case, as these regions get more connected to the internet, and the push for development and foreign investment increases, it makes sense that there would be a way to get large scale bottoms up data on the worldviews that underlie the behaviours in these countries.

Imagine if you could tell that public opinion was turning against foreign mining? Perhaps you’d invest more in PR or pay rises pre-emptively, before things get too late.

Even better, I’d love for it to be possible to use this type of bottoms up data to build a local credentials/skills graph. This can be a first step in finding out how to mobilise local talent to programmes where they can pick up skills that can attract capital, industry, or fill gaps in local services.