Monday, February 21, 2011

Advantage India, Disadvantage India

Bihar, the state in India where majority of Bi...Image via WikipediaI first thought in terms of India. An Indian does not need to look far and wide to find poverty. It's right there. It's right there in the backyard. India has the vast majority of the dollar a day, two dollars a day people.

I'd start out by knowing the culture. I'd know the language. And when I say that I mean to say English also, not just Hindi, not just Maithili and Bhojpuri. India is the biggest English speaking country in the world.

And there is the size. I could take the company IPO based just on Bihar. Bihar alone is that big. It would make sense to polish the basic business model in Bihar and then take it to Africa, rather than otherwise.

India is a vibrant democracy, the biggest in the world.

And there is no small matter of getting work done in India. You can get very smart, very hard working people for very cheap. But that part is going to stay true whether I go to Kenya or Paraguay, or wherever. I am going to get much corporate work done in India.

Only I got advised that the Indian government makes it ridiculously complex to get money into the country. If you want to get into microfinance, they want you to get the money from the banks in India. They say it is that arrangement that made sure India was largely untouched when the global financial meltdown happened.

I think that is taking pride and heritage a little too far.
Dr. Rajendra Prasad, 1st President of India.Image via Wikipedia
The problem with India is not that it has too much money. The problem is vast, abject poverty. Countries compete so hard to get FDI - foreign direct investment. That same zeal has to be carried over to the microfinance sector. You do want outside money. The more the merrier.


I am going to dig into this.

Ultimately I am going to India. That's for sure. But right now as to India will be the first country I go into, that is an open question. I am not sure right now. Although I'd very much like to go.
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