Speed, analytical rigor have a place in development

When he made the shift from the private to the public sector, Jens Riese, co-leader of economic development practice at McKinsey, noticed a certain comfort with the lack of speed of which things were completed.

In fact, the aid community has gotten comfortable with a number of things it shouldn’t accept, he told Devex at the 2013 Partnerships Forum in Nairobi.

But speed, intensity, analytical rigor and the private sector all have a place in development efforts. Aid agencies might ask, for example, if the speed of a certain project is sustainable — but speed can work with the right engagement of private and public sectors, and intensity at the beginning of a program is important in generating momentum. Riese also noted that the aid community will sometimes avoid analysis due to the lack of raw data, but data is critical to choosing interventions that deliver the highest value for money.

He encouraged filling data gaps by extrapolation and following up with a sensitivity analysis.

Engaging the private sector as an agent of change can be highly effective for the aid community as well, said Riese. There are cases when the government plays an excessively dominant role, and the private sector would be a better operator, but others when the private sector is given too much room.

Learn more about the Devex 2013 Partnerships Forum and Career Fair in Nairobi.

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About the author

  • Kelli Rogers

    Kelli Rogers is an Associate Editor for Devex. Based on the U.S. West Coast, she works with Devex's team of correspondents and editors around the world, with a particular focus on gender. She previously worked as Devex’s Southeast Asia correspondent based in Bangkok, covering disaster and crisis response, resilience, women’s rights, and climate change throughout the region. Prior to that, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.

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