Knowledge and Technology Transfer

Algeria was ranked 108th out of 127 in June 2017 in the Global Innovation Index, a global ranking of countries according to their abilities and results of economic innovation as published annually by Cornell University, the INSEAD and the UN’s World Intellectual Organization Property (WIPO). The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4FIR) is on us; this will be based on the generalised Knowledge and Technology Transfer throughout all endeavours. We should therefore not forget that the world is not waiting for Algeria to get on the band wagon.  This country is not isolated and its assessment from either the above GII 2017 as from official data shows the limits of the administratively bureaucratic approach that lead to that ranking.
This brief analysis is a synthesis, of Volume VI of the multidisciplinary audit, submitted to the Government in January 03, 2013.

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Sound Foundation for Development

Algeria was ranked 108th out of 127 in June 2017 in the Global Innovation Index, a global ranking of countries according to their abilities and results of economic innovation as published annually by Cornell University, the INSEAD and the UN’s World Intellectual Organization Property (WIPO). The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4FIR) is on us; this will be based on the generalised Knowledge and Technology Transfer throughout all endeavours. We should therefore not forget that the world is not waiting for Algeria to get on the band wagon.  This country is not isolated and its assessment from either the above GII 2017 as from official data shows the limits of the administratively bureaucratic approach that lead to that ranking.

This brief analysis is a synthesis, of Volume VI of the multidisciplinary audit, submitted to the Government in January 03, 2013 (1).

Technology Transfer

According to the WIPO, technology transfer is the process of designating the formal transfer to industry of discoveries resulting from University research and the commercialization of these discoveries in the form of new products and services.

As far as academic research is concerned, technology transfer is an operation that is to transfer a specific piece of knowledge from research, formalized or not in the form of patent(s) or deposited property rights, to another center of research, public or private, with the intended purpose to pursue for industrial development or to turn research into industrial innovation, by assigning any discoveries to an industrial enterprise.

If we limit ourselves to industry, technology transfer is the sale by contract of all rights of use of a technique, a process, a product (commodity) that it owns, as well as the know-how for its industrial production.

The technology owner remains the owner and the buyer is contractually limited to a market (for example geographical limits, customer type, volumes) and constraints of broadcast (the purchaser cannot transfer technology).

As one should not confuse technology transfer with an assignment of license, the transfer of technology including the disclosure of know-how adapted to the context of the purchaser whether in public or private law.

What are the different forms of technology transfer?

We can classify this in different forms also often complementary. First, the dissemination of knowledge, sometimes named dissemination and transfer of knowledge, which is a discipline practiced by research centres for the purpose of information of public bodies et enterprises.

This broadcast is practiced in conventions, through publications constituting one of the information sources of technological intelligence that monitors the evolution of knowledge, know-how and the feasibility of inventions in a certain field and its development environments.

Strictly speaking, technology watch is not a transfer of technology but facilitates the transfer. Then there is the technological slurping, i.e. digging up sleepy projects in research laboratories and universities that did not find industrial opportunities and promote them for purposes of enterprise creation.

Another method of transfer often used in industry to facilitate knowledge management is the recruitment of executives and specialists in a given technology. It is one of the activities of head-hunters, recruitment firms or sometimes this leads to industrial espionage if the beneficiaries of the information know how to exploit them.

There is no real training phase, unless the data transmission includes didactic elements. Also included as transfer facility in a first phase is reverse engineering as applied in technical education, the counterfeiting or piracy (often prohibited under the terms of the WTO)

Finally there is the partial transfer of technology through the granting of a  license to the purchaser production but excluding certain technologies (protection of know-how). Good management requires knowledge and skills.

Knowledge fundamentals to technology transfer

Facing up to the pressure of competition with innovation, development of tailor-made products and increasingly complex technologies geared for the production of more and more personalized services, the required work of employees has no immediacy. Increasingly, directions of companies request of employees to lay down knowledge of their own work thus the importance of continuous training.

This production of knowledge is based on commitment and involvement that make initiative, intuition, judgment (famous Japanese Toolbox source of innovation) play a central role but also on the abilities of the individuals and the wider “social knowledge” that is strategic for every company that wants to continue to succeed.

Knowledge management relies on the levers of success such as knowledge embedded in products and services; knowledge and skills within a company (human capital); knowledge contained in the process (internal structure); corporate memory; transactional memory and finally knowledge as intangible property (intellectual capital).

This openness reflects the necessary break with the forms of governance that are centralized, disciplinary and mutilating as inherited from the Ford era.  Capital also goes social in different techno-organisational devices influencing the rapport of individuals at work.

Surveys clearly show that this extension of social knowledge is accompanied by new forms of segmentation (qualified / not qualified; mobile / immobile; young / old; man / woman) and a sharing of activities and services that become more and more merchants (outsourcing computing to India electronics to Japan, South Korea, etc.)

This sociocultural approach that reflects the complexity of our societies with technology transfer being the apparent appearance owes much to the important work in terms of the approach to the economic anthropology of the Indian economist Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen whereby according to him, there cannot be any sustainable development without the introduction of the competitive market economy and of a real democracy that only allows both tolerance and confrontation of ideas and growth of renewable energy taking into account the cultural anthropologies of societies.

There is generally a dialectical link between technology transfer and culture

National culture being not static, but evolving as strongly characterised by the opening of a society onto environmental values, myths, rites and signs shared by the majority of the social body is an essential constituent of the culture of enterprise and technology transfer.

The successful experiences of Japan, emerging countries such as China and India show that we can assimilate technology without renouncing one’s culture. Moreover, the transfer is favoured where there is a better understanding of convergent and divergent values between two groups whereas trying to impose one’s own values could lead to a relationship of domination that in turn limits the transfer.

Corporate culture is also a by-product of a national culture and thus a set of values, myths, rites, taboos, and signs shared by the majority of employees and an essential element to explain the strategic choices by strengthening common values: example, regulations behaviour codes, job descriptions, as well as by the rewards and sanctions system so that employees are mobilised for the purpose of identification with their company and take over its history.

All this facilitates the transfer of technology that should not be limited to its technical, but to all managerial, organizational and commercial etc. aspects.  The index of human development or HDI developed in 1990 by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and Indian Economist, Nobel Prize in economics Amartya Sen reflects the importance of the development of human capital including education and health.

Change of legal framework blocking investment and technology transfer

It is useful to recall that from the political independence to the present day, the Algerian economy has experienced different forms of organization of public enterprises.

Prior to 1965, self-management was preferred; from 1965 to 1980, we had large national companies and from 1980 to 1988, we witnessed a first restructuring carving up the large national corporations. As a result of the crisis of 1986 that saw the oil price collapse, timid reforms have begun in 1988: the State creating 8 Fund that were responsible for managing the various State portfolios.

As a result of cessation of payments in 1994 (with the consequent rescheduling), in 1996, the State created 11 holdings in addition to the 5 regional ones with a national Council of privatization; in 2000, we are witnessing their merger in 5 mega holdings and the removal of the national Council of privatization; in 2001, a further reorganization created 28 companies of participative management (GSP) in addition to large companies considered as strategic and in 2004, these GSPs are grouped into 11 and 4 regional ones.

At the various Governments Councils held throughout year 2007, a new organization is proposed by the Department of the Promotion of Investment, (both large companies oil SONATRACH and SONELGAZ, governed by specific laws being not concerned), articulated around four major segments: from the economic development corporations that fall under the exclusive State Management; companies of promotion and development by promoting partnership with the private sector, national and international; called State companies to be eventually privatized ; and finally, a company responsible for the liquidation of structurally loss-making enterprises.

In February 2008, this organisation proposal that did not have unanimity within the various spheres of authorities is abandoned. A commission was instead created to define the typical organization of the public economic sector between 2011/2016 with differing industry groups.

Not forgetting this ambiguous 49 / 51% of company share ownership that was introduced in 2009 to all enterprises including banks in 2010, regardless of strategic and non-strategic sectors drove away foreign capital, Algeria supporting all additional costs.

These periodically recurring changes of organization discouraged managers in the public economic sector, as well as the local and foreign investors clearly showed the dominance of the administrative and bureaucratic approach at the expense of the economic operational approach resulting in a waste of financial resources, a strengthening of the rentier dynamics and blocking of any transfer of technology.

Because of the essential blocking of local and foreign investment being a bureaucratic machine that feeds on the lack of visibility and coherence in the overall reform this situation would require an approach with a comprehensive reform whereas lack of political consensus and neutralization of the balance of power has never addressed a clear way of the future role of the State in the face of both internal and international changes.

Indeed, the future stakes are essentially economic and as in all countries in transition the Algerian society is naturally facing two trends, with in the a majority “the swamp” in the middle not understanding the issues that are anticipated between 2017 and 2030 in essentially economic, between adverse actors and stakeholders favouring reforms where the importance of records eminently political as that of hydrocarbons, the production place of the rent, of the financial system, place of distribution of the rent, and that of the partnership-privatisation, coupled with that of a socio-educational system, rather than the production of added-value that skills will create new social forces either backward if we are moving towards a new private monopoly or carriers of progress if we set a total transparency for a truly competitive market economy.

Hence the rentier tendency to managing the reforms according to a vision bureaucratic as of administrative injunctions based on administrative relays – the office, necessary in any society, but in contrast to developed countries analyzed by Max Weber, a factor blocking that attends the blocking of useful investment for more than 60%.

What conclusion for the action of the Government?

Reconciling economic efficiency and a deep social justice in the context of an open economy, control of the time being the main challenge for Governments in the 21st century would at the end of the day constitute the real challenge of Algeria between 2017, 2020 and 2030.

It is clear that at the time when big businesses and SMIs/SMEs are organized into networks corresponding to a historic phase where the enterprise tends to focus on its core business by outsourcing a good number of secondary activities, and the manufacturing industry experiencing a crisis rarely matched globally, it is necessary to avoid theoretical experiments with huge costs for the country which can only lead to an impasse for lack of strategic vision.

It is the result of the new configuration of the international labour division, product of the evolution of the development of capitalism, an unfinished globalization historical process with the new technological ecological challenge.  Knowledge within the stability of the political environment, economic and social determinants according to international reports, would be a decisive factor in the development of Nations in the 21st century with good governance.

Any operational analysis would have to connect the process of technology transfer to both the new changes at the global level, in front of a profound change in geopolitical, socio-economic, managerial and technological at horizon 2017/2020/2030 as a future policy of the Government tossed between two social forces: the rentier logic supported by proponents of import, the unfortunately dominant informal sphere and the entrepreneurial logic.

In fact technology transfer should not be limited to the technical aspects only but to the organization of society in general on a par with both internal and global changes.  The passage of the status of ‘support against the pension’ to the rule of law “based on work and intelligence” is a major political gamble since it simply involves a new social contract and a new political contract between the Nation and the State.  ademmebtoul@gmail.com


(1) Three audits under the direction of Dr Abderrahmane Mebtoul for the Government including the observation and operational resolutions were conducted comprising:
Study carried out and assisted by officials from the Department of Energy, senior executives of SONATRACH and Ernst Young titled “For a policy of fuels including a policy of subsidies targeted in a competitive market.”

A new Saudi Arabia will gradually be emerging

A new Saudi Arabia will gradually be emerging as this seems to be the word that is the leitmotiv of the young and fresh at the helm prince MbS (Mohammed bin Salman).  This latter’s elevation to heir to the crown at the age of 31 that was already showing in quiet and unheard of boldness is now blatantly in full sight.  Would this possibly generalise to a whole generation of leaders in the country’s life and take it towards modernity?  Would a radical reform program as embodied in the prince’s “Vision 2030” generate a new self-sufficient country living in good harmony with its neighbours and for this purpose would it need all that accumulated wealth from oil related revenues since its advent in the 30s to be ploughed in to generate conditions that are perhaps propitious to another vision?  Or would all this just lead to more clinging to Tradition, survival endurance and frictions of all sorts as restricted OPEC oil output and US shale oil production seem to be the other leitmotiv of the time.

A new Saudi Arabia will gradually be emerging as this seems to be the word that is the leitmotiv of the young and fresh at the helm prince MbS (Mohammed bin Salman).  This latter’s elevation to heir to the crown at the age of 31 that was already showing in quiet and unheard of boldness is now blatantly in full sight.  Would this possibly generalise to a whole generation of leaders in the country’s life and take it towards modernity?  Would a radical reform program as embodied in the prince’s “Vision 2030” generate a new self-sufficient country living in good harmony with its neighbours and for this purpose would it need all that accumulated wealth from oil related revenues since its advent in the 30s to be ploughed in to generate conditions that are perhaps propitious to another vision?  Or would all this just lead to more clinging to Tradition, survival endurance and frictions of all sorts as restricted OPEC oil output and US shale oil production seem to be the other leitmotiv of the time.
In any case, lots of speculative writings are coming to enlighten us on the situation of the country.  Bloomberg’s Donna Abu-Nasr  and Zainab Fattah and published on June 23, 2017.

Saudi Arabia’s New Heir Leads Revolution of Powerful Millennials

The youngest crown prince in living memory represents a broader youth revolution in Saudi Arabia.

While the elevation of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, as heir to the throne this week caught the attention, some of his cousins and relatives whose fathers held key posts in past decades have been installed in the royal court as advisers, sent to the U.S. and Europe as ambassadors and appointed to government institutions in Riyadh.

Together, they are some of the world’s most powerful millennials, increasingly in control of a Gulf kingdom where two-thirds of the population is under 35. The challenge will be to sell Prince Mohammed’s “Vision 2030,” his road map to a post-oil economy that will require social upheaval and financial sacrifices never experienced by this generation.

“Having young princes at the helm, who understand young people’s needs, is the message being sent,” said Sanam Vakil, associate fellow at Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa program. “Perhaps the princes can talk in the same language as the youth and listen to their concerns so they would be able to address them in more effective ways.”

Prince Mohammed is likely to be among his country’s youngest kings with a potential for his rule to last half a century. He joins a roster of youth wielding more power elsewhere. French President Emmanuel Macron is 39, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in the U.S. are 36 and 35 and Ireland’s new prime minister is 38. Then there’s North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. He’s thought to be around 33.

The decision by the prince’s father, King Salman, to pick some of his younger children as well as grandsons and great-grandsons of the kingdom’s founder is meant to ensure a smooth transition in the royal household. It also comes under the watchful eye of the older traditionalists.

Saudi Arabia is going through arguably the biggest changes since the kingdom’s founding in 1932. The new crown prince is aiming to effectively tear up a lot of the social contract that’s kept the royal family in power to create jobs and modernize the economy. It was one of state handouts in return for adherence to an autocracy underpinned by an ultra-conservative brand of Islam.

The appointments are a way to protect Prince Mohammed when he becomes monarch, said Nabeel Khoury, a former U.S. State Department official who is now non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, an American organization focusing on foreign affairs.

It avoids the dangers of the old guard “using their old contacts against the new king,” he said. “The transition to youth is a good story,” but the way it was done “does not necessarily imply good things for the future of the country,” he said.

The new appointees include Prince Khalid bin Bandar, who is being sent to Germany as ambassador. His father, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, was one of the most powerful Saudi envoys to Washington and later was in charge of intelligence. Another is Prince Abdullah, now an advisor to the royal court and son of Prince Khalid, who served as deputy defense minister.

Along with Prince Mohammed, the king has appointed another young son — he is under 30 — as ambassador to the U.S. and another one as minister of state for energy. While other kings have sought to help and encourage their children, “this was the most blatant act of nepotism ever in Saudi Arabia,” said Khoury.

There’s also the new interior minister. Born in 1983, Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef will succeed his uncle, the ousted crown prince who successfully managed to halt al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia when he headed the ministry.

With so many young faces in charge, change may come faster to Saudi Arabia, but also potentially without the careful deliberation about the effects on society, said Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Middle East fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute.

“King Salman has been, for decades, the family ‘enforcer’ of discipline and the keeper of the family secrets,” said Ulrichsen. “If the family files are not picked up by someone of similar stature to Salman, there is a risk that discipline within the Al Saud may begin to fragment if the unifying glue becomes loosened.”

Read More: a QuickTake Explainer on Saudi Arabia

The Council of Ministers, met on Wednesday in Algiers

The Council of Ministers, met on Wednesday in Algiers under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. It adopted an Action Plan for the newly appointed Government of Mr. Abdelmadjid Tebounne.
This Action Plan which will be submitted shortly before the National Assembly, is part of the continuation of the implementation of the programme of the President of the Republic, according to a statement of the Presidency of the Republic.

The Council of Ministers, met on Wednesday in Algiers under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.  It adopted an Action Plan for the newly appointed Government of Mr. Abdelmadjid Tebounne.
This Action Plan which will be submitted shortly before the National Assembly, is part of the continuation of the implementation of the programme of the President of the Republic, according to a statement of the Presidency of the Republic.
Image APS

Tebboune Government’s Guidelines from the President

The Government Action Plan as adopted by the Council of Ministers meeting on June 14, 2017, noting first that the oil price crisis has presumably settled in a long term, would require Algeria to face up to major demanding challenges that would include dynamization of reforms for implementing all socio-economic actions, along the lines that I summarise in seven key areas as follows.

  1. The need to continue the implementation of the budgetary policy of the adopted last year’s rationalisation to redress public finances by 2019. 
  2. So as to not impact public investment programs, promote non-conventional internal financing that could be mobilized for a financial transition of a few years. 
  3. Avoid for as much as possible the recourse to external debt and contain further all imports volumes of goods and services for the purpose of preserving the reserves of foreign exchange. 
  4. Continue the implementation of the new model of growth adopted in 2016 by the Council of Ministers, including its component of reforms so as to improve the investment environment, and the modernization of the tax system, public banks and financial market.
  5. Enhance all the country’s riches and resources available, including conventional and non-conventional fossil and renewable energy. 
  6. Work on social justice and national solidarity for a greater rationalization of a just social policy, including better targeting of subsidies. 
  7. Adopt an effective communication policy towards public opinion, and carry on a continuous dialogue with all economic and social partners. 

In short, it will be for the Government to produce at a dated deadline, all reforms and necessary synchronization with all sectoral actions taking into account the unavoidable budget external and internal constraints as highlighted with force during this Council. ademmebtoul@gmail.com

 

The challenges for the new Government of Algeria

TEBBOUNE faces a productive fabric weakness and foreign exchange reserves declining, dire imports restrictions, and exports awkward regulations.

The challenges for the new Government of Algeria will be such that it will probably be before budgetary tensions between 2017 and 2020 with the current outflow of hard currencies (goods and services – legal transfer of funds) of approximately $60 billion by end of 2017, and very limited revenues to account for.  Except for blind restrictions which are likely to lead to great social tensions by a push of the inflationary process, the amount of foreign exchange reserves only $109 billion in February 2017, whereas the importance of the renewed governance, shared sacrifice, and an urgent reorientation of the entire socio-economic policy adapting to the new global changes.

1 – On June 9th, 2017 morning, the price of Brent is $47.65 and the WIT at $45.42.  Pondering in retrospect on the negative experience of the war economics of the years 1991/1993, leading the country right to the IMF, a discourse of truth is needed for as much as realism is concerned but away from bureaucratic injunctions of the past.

In 2017 rather than in the 1970s, the economic situation is made up of 83% of small business / enterprises, the industrial sector representing less than 5% of the Gross Domestic Product, (97% of small innovative SMI/SMEs); the informal sphere holding more than 50% of the economic life and 97% of Dollar revenues are directly and indirectly hydrocarbons related.  And above all, the lack of vision of adaptation is noticeable while the world is at the dawn of the fourth economic revolution of 2017/2030 with major geostrategic upheavals including Africa and the Middle East (1).

Taking data from the ‘Office National des Statistiques’ (ONS) for the first four months of 2017, imports of goods will roughly be about $46/47 billion.  According to data from the IMF for 2017 outflow of hard currencies on services would be of $10.5 billion, against $9.9 billion for 2016 and between $3.5 and 4 billion of legal transfers of capital (this amount is bound to increase with the rule of 49 / 51% according to the IMF to $7/8 billion by 2019/2020) and giving us single reference document at the level of the balance of payments, and not trade balance, an extrapolated outflow of about $60 billion.

However, currency entries would vary between $30/32 billion, if the average price of 2017 were between $50/52 a barrel.  Impact of the fall in the price of hydrocarbons, presumably being of long term, disturbing forecasts growth for Algeria by the IMF and the World Bank (WB) dated June 5th, 2017 for the years 2017 and 2018, are below the rate of population growth.  This would bring the official unemployment of 11% in 2016 to more than 13% in 2018. So the WB brought back its growth projections for Algeria in 2017 to 1.8% against 2.9% as projected in its report last January and for 2018, real GDP growth is expected to be even lower at 1% down from 1.6% compared to the 2.6% as anticipated in January.

According to Jean François Dauphin, the head of mission of the IMF, Algeria has the capacity to diversify its economy through ambitious structural reforms that would allow it to move out of its dependence on hydrocarbons. And, one of the tasks facing the new Government Tebboune would be to put these reforms into the works, through a pedagogical format, requiring a return to confidence without which no development is possible, in the direction of the population on rail.

The most important, for the Government will be to cope with the economic and social situation which will have to face an exceptional crisis with the long-lasting low prices of hydrocarbons and deepen a comprehensive reform, reconcile economic efficiency and bring some necessary social cohesion to which I am deeply attached.  We can hypothesize that it is the State which is lagging behind society that produces rules that allow functioning.  An economic model that is not represented by political, economic and social forces would have no chance of being operationally carried through.

It will be to first identify the different stakeholders in the process of economic reforms, whether favourable or unfavourable, be they national or foreign. In a second step, it will be to proceed with the analysis of the strategies that they are implementing to support reforms, block them or, in default, slow them down, in assessing the means put at the service of these strategies.  This is a good chance for Algeria, where it will manage all structural reforms between 2017 and 2020 perhaps difficult in the short term but hopefully fruitful in the medium term by 2019/2020 .

Summarising, in 2017, a blind import restriction may paralyze the economic machine, 70% of the needs of public and private companies are indeed from overseas with a rate of integration exceeding not 15% and eventually lead to social tensions. There is above all a matter of lowering costs, especially in services, improve on management and fight off corruption so as not to penalize the disfavoured and by the same prevent a dumbing down of the middle classes.

I would recommend meditating the Venezuelan experience, one of the largest oil reserves in the world or the Romanian ex-Communist camp experience that with a zero foreign debt has left an economy in ruins. For my part, I am convinced that Algeria has significant potential to confront this multidimensional crisis which it is facing.  For this, there is an urgent need for a political will for change represented by social forces for the development of economic, social and political freedoms.

In the recent history of Algeria, the issue of reform – be it economic or political gave rise, because of the worth that they represent, to the development of conflicting strategies that work to the defence and promotion of these or, instead, their blocking and, failing that, to their perversion or their slowdown.

  • – Conference of the Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul at the invitation of the European Parliament (2013) -“the Maghreb the geostrategic challenges” – Dr. Camille Sari (2 volumes 1080 pages – edition L’Harmattan Paris 2015).
  • – Conférence at the ‘Direction Générale Sûreté Nationale Ecole Supérieure de Police,’ Algiers may 2015 “Global changes, fall of the oil prices and its impact on macroeconomic and macro-sociaux balance.”
  • – On the same theme, May 2016 at ‘l’Ecole Supérieure d’Administration de la 2ème Région Militaire’ – Oran, Algeria.
  • – interview on 28/12/2016 by American Herald Tribune: “Assessment of the Algerian economy its prospects: destabilisation of Algeria having geostrategic repercussions on African and Mediterranean space.”

Opportunity in Government Productivity Analysis

All leaders in all countries of the MENA region would be well inspired in reading this write up of McKinsley Center for Government (MCG). It is a closer look at through a review of all sectors opportunity in government productivity analysis and in its report’s executive summary, it (MCG) as ‘a global hub for research, collaboration, and innovation in government productivity and performance’ holds that ‘its mission is to help governments and non-governmental institutions improve the lives of citizens worldwide and to help solve the world’s most pressing economic and social issues.’
In a few words, the report studied ways that productivity and opportunity for improvement in various developed countries government departments, etc. is measured. It also showed shortcomings and / or limited progress on measuring government productivity when comparing these countries’ differing performances as it were of certain obvious sectors of governement activities literally department by department.

The opportunity in government productivity

Governments face a pressing question: How to do more with less? Raising productivity could save $3.5 trillion a year—or boost outcomes at no extra cost.

Higher costs and rising demand have driven rapid increases in spending on core public services such as education, healthcare, and transport—while countries must grapple with complex challenges such as population aging, economic inequality, and protracted security concerns. Government expenditure amounts to more than a third of global GDP, budgets are strained, and the world public-sector deficit is close to $4 trillion a year

At the same time, governments are struggling to meet citizens’ rising expectations. Satisfaction with key state services, such as public transportation, schools, and healthcare facilities, is less than half that of nonstate providers, such as banks or utilities.

Governments need a way to deliver better outcomes—and a better experience for citizens—at a sustainable cost. A new paper by the McKinsey Center for Government (MCG), Government productivity: Unlocking the $3.5 trillion opportunity, suggests that goal is within reach. It shows that several countries have achieved dramatic productivity improvements in recent years—for example, by improving health, public safety, and education outcomes while maintaining or even reducing spending per capita or per student in those sectors.

If other countries were to match the improvements already demonstrated in these pockets of excellence, the world’s governments could potentially save as much as $3.5 trillion a year by 2021—equivalent to the entire global fiscal gap. Alternatively, countries could choose to keep spending constant while boosting the quality of key services. For example, if all the countries studied had improved the productivity of their healthcare systems at the rate of comparable best performers over the past 5 years, they would have added 1.4 years to the healthy life expectancy of their combined populations. That translates into 12 billion healthy life years gained, without additional per capita spending.

It’s imperative that governments find a way to unlock that productivity opportunity. The challenge is that, until now, there’s been limited progress on measuring government productivity—even though productivity is a well-established and vital measure of the performance of national economies and private-sector businesses. As a result, it is difficult for governments to gauge the true return on spending, and debate is often focused on how to increase inputs and not the quality of outputs. Governments typically find it challenging to identify improvement opportunities by learning from other countries, or from other regions or sectors within the same country.

 

To help close this gap, MCG built a comprehensive database and benchmarking methodology—the Government Productivity Scope—to start to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of government expenditure. MCG applied the tool across 42 countries that together make up 80 percent of global GDP, focusing on seven sectors: healthcare; primary, secondary, and tertiary education; public safety; road transport; and tax collection. The research was supplemented with insights from more than 50 interviews with government leaders and more than 200 case studies. This paper presents the first version of MCG’s analysis, which we will continue to extend and refine in dialogue with government leaders and academic experts.

The initial findings point to dramatic differences in countries’ relative productivity. Even among comparable countries with very similar outcomes, the least-efficient government currently spends more than twice as much per unit of output as its most-efficient peer. And while most countries have struggled to contain spending growth, in every sector MCG found examples of governments that have reduced expenditure per unit while experiencing improved outcomes.

These differences point to a tremendous opportunity for governments to boost productivity, save money, and achieve better outcomes for citizens. To realize that opportunity, though, governments need to deepen their functional capabilities in four key areas: finance, commercial, digital technology and data analytics, and talent management. As MCG shows, pioneering countries have reimagined and strengthened these functions so they play a more strategic leadership role in pursuing efficiency and improving outcomes. Across these areas, those governments have adopted an ambitious, structured approach to transform the effectiveness of the state.

Sold Openly in Modern-day Slave Markets

The Guardian’s  of April 10th, 2017 published an article written by Emma Graham-Harrison on how West African migrants are being bought and sold openly in modern-day slave markets in Libya, survivors have told a UN agency helping them return home.
Trafficked people passing through Libya have previously reported violence, extortion and slave labour. But the new testimony from the International Organization for Migration suggests that the trade in human beings has become so normalised that people are being traded in public.
Gambian migrants returning home from Libya carry bags from UN agency the International Organization for Migration. Photograph: Luc Gnago/Reuters
Today we are proposing another of the same but this time happening at the other end of the MENA region, i.e. in Bahrain. It is IBT that picked a certain hoo-hah that went almost unnoticed on Twitter and Instagram media.
Recruitment agencies in the GCC countries are a good business line that is fundamentally geared to providing a service to national and locally domiciled international populations by providing various types of house maids, drivers, etc. usually out of the Indian sub-continent for a fee. It is as normal a business as your average employment agencies all over the world.
Hiccups do happen like anywhere else in the world, here it is as published today by the IBT.

Recruitment agency loses licence over ‘win an Ethiopian maid’ contest

Bahrain’s labour watchdog said competition was flagged for possible human trafficking. 

 By Elsa Buchanan

A recruitment agency in Bahrain that ran a competition on social media offering its followers the chance “to win an Ethiopian maid” during the month of Ramadan has had its licence suspended pending the outcome of an official probe, it has emerged.

Rights groups have repeatedly warned of the treatment of domestic workers – including large numbers of workers from Sub-Saharan Africa primarily from Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya – in Gulf countries.

The domestic employment agency, Al Hazeem Manpower, was investigated after it published a picture on its Facebook account in which it promised users: “During the month of Ramadan, follow and mention the Instagram account and win an Ethiopian maid”, complete with “runaway” insurance (below).

In its ad, Al Hazeem Manpower outlined the one condition to designate a winner was that he, or she, had to have a work permit to employ a domestic worker.

Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) suspended the agency’s licence while it investigates the competition that has been flagged for possible human trafficking.

Ausamah Al Absi, LMRA’s chief executive, is quoted by Bahrain News agency as saying the recruitment agency treat their workers as “commodities”, and slammed the campaign as “disrespectful” and “extremely offensive”. The agency subsequently deleted the posts, but posted an edited version on Instagram (below) in which it removed the offer to “win a domestic worker” .

Responding to the claims, Al Hazeem Manpower, claimed it did nothing wrong except use the “wrong wording”, and that they “immediately made the required changes” following the complaint.

Last month, footage emerged of a woman filming her Ethiopian maid falling from a seventh-floor window without attempting to help her. Kuwaiti authorities have opened an investigation.

Any thoughts?

 

The Algerian Industry Scientific Council is born

The Algerian Industry Scientific Council is born and is composed of national experts and reputed economists. A Forum was arranged on March 28th, 2017 at the Club des Pins Sheraton, Algiers. Here is below its Final Resolution. This Forum was host to participants from Foreign Embassies and Chambers of Commerce and representatives of the United States, [ . . . ]

The Algerian Industry Scientific Council is born and is composed of national experts and reputed economists. A Forum was arranged on March 28th, 2017 at the Club des Pins Sheraton, Algiers.

Here is below its Final Resolution.

1 –        This Forum was host to participants from Foreign Embassies and Chambers of Commerce and representatives of the United States, Austria, Germany, Russia, France, Mexico, Viet Nam, Spain, Tunisia, Switzerland, Sweden, Poland and Japan; countries of which experts developed and were responsible for models of development for the Government for 2017, 2020, 2020 and 2030.

2 –        The Forum of the Algerian Industry will take into account, to avoid repeats, these economic models as per the experts and the resolutions of the Tripartite held in Annaba on March 6th, 2017, where public, private operators and the trade unions exposed the constraints of the development of a wealth creation enterprise, particularly in the industrial field be it public or private without distinction, in accordance to the terms of the new Constitution.

3 –        This Council of the Algerian economic experts’ mission is to analyse and make concrete proposals to the public and private actors as well as to State institutions. As an independent body, this Council shall focus on the best interests of the country whilst coming up with concrete proposals for the Government with a view to boost the productive and inclusive industrial fabric, taking into account of the fourth global economic revolution.

4 –        It will focus mainly on the prospects for stimulating all segments of Algerian Industry with all its interfaces that require an inter-ministerial vision taking into account the new technological changes and managerial demands of 2017 / 2030.

5 –        The Council is responsible for preparing the holding of the 2nd Forum scheduled for the last quarter of 2017, hoping for the presence of members of the Government, public institutions, public and private operators to work all, and above all, for the national development.

6 –        It was decided that in a first phase, experts in networks, would concretely define within two months maximum, the short, medium and long-term objectives to be assigned in a pragmatic way to this Council.

7 –        Members unanimously decided to entrust the Presidency of this Council to Professor Dr. Abderrahmane Mebtoul, International Expert and former Director of Studies at the Department of Industry / Energy circa 1974-2008.

Composition of the Council

List of the Council Members present and in agreement with the resolution.

University Professor international expert, Dr Abderrahmane MEBTOUL, President,

  1. Professor Chems Eddine Chitour, Director of Research,
  2. Doctor Alexandre Kateb, International Expert,
  3. Professor Rafik Bouklia Hassan,
  4. Professor Bensebaa Farid, Canada,
  5. Ait Ali Ferhat, Financial Expert,
  6. Abdenour Attai, Expert,
  7. Dr. Lies Goumiri, SOFIN former CEO, International Expert,
  8. Professor Senouci Benabbou, Director of Industrial Economics School of Oran,
  9. Professor Bouchama Chaouma, former General Secretary of Ministry and Director of Laboratory ,
  10. Tewfik Hasni, Engineer and former Director of Renewable Energy,
  11. Nazim Zouioueche, Engineer and former Director SONATRACH,
  12. Professor Abderezak Benhabib, Director of Research,
  13. Professor Farid Yaici former Dean of Bejaia U and Director of Research,
  14. Dr Mourad Preure, former consultant, Director of SONATRACH,
  15. Dr Mustapha Bensahli, International Expert, Tax Consultant, former IMF Executive,
  16. Professeur Sid Ali Boukrami, former Minister delegate,

 

NB – it was agreed during the debate, to add lawyers, sociologists and anthropologists so as to take into account all the morphological aspects and legal framework of society.

 

Per the Minutes of the Forum as signed by Dr Abderrahmane Mebtoul.