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Economic Development

Countries don’t need to choose between fostering economic growth and improving the lives of their citizens. BCG enables them by designing economic growth strategies, transforming public finance practices, and improving government-wide effectiveness.

Time is up for the traditional approach to economic development. While boosting GDP is important, policymakers no longer have the luxury of waiting for gains to translate—hopefully—to improvements in citizens’ lives. Instead, they need to deliver growth and well-being simultaneously. By creating jobs, nurturing skills, and improving access—for all—to services and opportunities, governments create a foundation for faster, more sustainable economic development. This requires pulling a variety of levers in a carefully orchestrated way.

Our Approach to Economic Development Consulting

The dynamics around economic development are rapidly evolving, and the most crucial levers for economic development can also be the most challenging to apply. New technologies and business models are shifting economic growth to new sectors. Rising levels of inequality and increasing competition for foreign investment are adding complexity—and urgency—to achieving sustainable economic growth and well-being. Our economic development consulting team helps governments and policymakers tackle the imperatives and impediments alike.

  • Innovation. Nations that innovate excel at job creation, entrepreneurship, talent, and ecosystems. But unleashing innovation requires significant investment and streamlined bureaucracy. We work with governments to develop comprehensive, long-term strategies. Case in point: helping Vietnam create its National Innovation Center, a hub for advances—and opportunities—in Industry 4.0 technologies.
  • Financial Inclusion. When financial services are readily accessible, whole populations can improve their lives and open new doors. Yet 1.7 billion adults are still unbanked. We use new lenses—such as behavioral economics and geospatial mapping—to understand why people don’t, or can’t, use certain products, and to figure out how to build better solutions.
  • Public-Private Partnerships. How can government and the private sector work together to drive better outcomes? We look at the factors that make—or hinder—successful partnerships, such as regulatory systems, institutional support, and the climate for foreign direct investment. Then we design solutions—such as Rwanda’s Investment Accelerator—to spark interest from private companies and spur collaboration.

Our Client Work in Economic Development

True economic development means laying a foundation for sustainable economic growth—for both a country and its citizens. The following client-impact stories highlight BCG's approach to making that happen.

Our Economic Development Tools and Solutions

The tools we use in economic development consulting consist of cutting-edge resources and programs that help us quickly develop the optimal strategy for a particular region. Our most important tools include:

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Sustainable Economic Development Assessment (SEDA)

Covering 143 countries, the SEDA database lets us zero in on focus areas for a specific country while revealing best practices from outperformers. Using SEDA, we can gauge a country’s true performance—and determine how it can do better.

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Foreign Direct Investment

As inflows tighten, attracting FDI is more challenging than ever. BCG employs an end-to-end methodology, helping countries look beyond one-off deals and develop the unique value propositions, resources, and ecosystems that catch investors’ eyes—en masse and fast.

Our Partnerships on Economic Development

We partner with some of the world’s most influential global economic development organizations, collaborating to gain insights on how new—and often disruptive—ideas, technologies, and business models can further sustainable economic growth and well-being. For example, we’ve worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to examine how cash-in/cash out systems—and mobile money agent networks in particular—can foster financial inclusion.

BCG's Center for Geopolitics

Explore Our Insights on Global Economic Development

Creating A Digital Framework to Drive ASEAN’s Imminent Growth

Satvinder Singh, ASEAN’s deputy secretary-general, outlines a knowledge initiative that positions the association’s ten member nations for a new era of cooperation and growth.

View the full conversation

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The Next 50 Years of Work

Experts anticipate that jobs will blossom over the next 50 years—even as technology becomes more prevalent and climate challenges persist.

Meet Our Economic Development Consultants

Our global economic development consulting experts include thought leaders in agricultural and financial technologies, digital, and agile ways of working. These economic development consultants have vast experience helping advance sustainable economic growth and well-being. Meet some of our experts on the topic.

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