It is critical for developing countries and newly industrialized nations to communicate their methods and improvement plans to stakeholders within their country and to stakeholders around the world. Many of these “young” countries are positioned to set the standard for the rest of the world in the digital 21st Century.
The experiences of many countries show that economic growth, while necessary, is not a sufficient condition to ensure sustained improvement in the quality of lives of the citizenry. Progress on the economic front must be accompanied by significant advances in social development. To achieve this, many countries position themselves to enhance competitiveness and to respond to the challenges of globalization and trade liberalization.
Because recent hydro-carbon/resource prosperity or strategic proximity are often the catalyst for such wealth, many Governments are committed to ensuring that the economic base is diversified for long term growth and stability and often establish a blue print for the comprehensive development of their nation. Long-term plans typically include judicial reforms, trade policy liberalization, social improvements, knowledge capital development, combating widespread disease and poverty, and infrastructure and security development.
Governments with current programs in this vein include Abu Dhabi, Nigeria, Dubai, and Trinidad and Tobago. Countries like Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, who once had such plans, quickly graduated to developed nation status.
More often than not, such a road map for developing 1st- World Nation status included tremendous infrastructure development projects. These projects, for the benefit of the people, tend to kick-start the local and regional economy and bring in outside, international investment. Such endeavors are often not well understood by the local communities. Such communities will see a division of wealth and an increase in frustration as sometimes they do not see or understand the direct impact of such projects.
Host nations must communicate effectively and swiftly the intentions and direct benefits of development across diverse socio-economic audiences. Government entities must leverage a combination of traditional and non-traditional methods of political, strategic communication and outreach tactics to ensure favorable opinion and success of such projects.
Pushing forward with development and “cleaning up the mess” with constituents later is a recipe for trouble. Tremendous opportunities exist for developing countries and newly industrialized nations to capitalize on the benefits of an effective communications strategy.