Eric Kacou — BoP Markets & Economic Development
Development Entrepreneur, Cote d'Ivoire
It’s critical that the focus goes from poverty reduction to prosperity creation, inasmuch as this will really change people’s views and really help them transform the way they approach development.
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Eric Kacou—Entrepreneurial Solutions for Prosperity
Born and raised in Cote d’Ivoire, Eric Kacou is co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESP), a firm providing entrepreneurs and leaders with the right mix of insight and capital needed to generate prosperity. Kacou’s first book Entrepreneurial Solutions for Prosperity in BOP markets has been published by Wharton School Publishing/Pearson in 2011. The book has been covered by global media such as the Financial Times and CNBC. In 2010, Kacou was honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. He was also selected as an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Associate by the African Leadership Initiative.
Eric Kacou—Fuel for African Prosperity
Prior to starting ESP, Kacou served as Managing Director of On the Frontier (OTF) Group, a competitiveness consultancy focused on emerging markets. An expert in post-conflict economic reconstruction, he led the Rwanda National Innovation and Competitiveness (RNIC) Program, an initiative sponsored by President Paul Kagame. The RNIC is credited with helping revitalize Rwanda’s economy and fuelling the growth of entrepreneurship and exports. Eric also co-founded the Academy of Leadership in Competitiveness and Prosperity (ALCP), a Rwanda-based program for young leaders with more than two hundred and fifty graduates.
Beyond Rwanda, Kacou has also served leaders of numerous low-income nations including Haiti, Uganda, and Southern Sudan as well as development partners such as World Bank, IFC and USAID. In addition, Kacou helped launch and deliver the Pioneers of Prosperity Africa awards program by the Social Equity Venture Fund (SEVEN) and OTF to find and recognize role model businesses in low-income nations. Featured in the documentary “Unlocking Africa”, this initiative registered the participation of over two thousands businesses from ten African nations. Kacou started his career as a strategy consultant with Monitor Company in Toronto and Paris advising senior Fortune 500 executives in pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and manufacturing.
Kacou is currently completing a Mason Fellowship in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University. Kacou earned his MBA at the Wharton School, and serves on the Wharton Executive Board for Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The Role of Individuals
I believe that individuals are critical in the prosperity creation process inasmuch as they are the ones that are at the beginning and the middle and at the end of the prosperity creation process. As it relates to assets, there has been a focus in developing countries mostly on physical assets, on financial resources, on infrastructure, on natural resources. What is really required is an understanding that all those resources are just wealth in potential.
Competition and Individuality in the Development Process
What competition does is to create a platform where each individual can unleash its own potential. And this is critical because this really puts the individual at the center of the economic development process, and it really helps this individual drive the development process the way that would be fulfilling for that individual. And this is the type of development that I believe is critical if we are going to create prosperity across the world.