Introducing the BCG Sustainable Economic Development Assessment

Introducing the BCG Sustainable Economic Development Assessment

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Introducing the BCG Sustainable Economic Development Assessment

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    National Strategies for Improving Well-being

    Increasingly, nations are focusing not only on economic growth but also on how well wealth and income growth are being converted into well-being. We believe that SEDA can provide valuable guidance in developing national strategies aimed at improving social and economic development. SEDA can also provide a better understanding of the key sustainability factors for development—that is, how countries can sustain and keep improving the well-being of their populations.

    The initial findings from our work with SEDA suggest that there is indeed considerable value in this approach. It can put a country’s progress into perspective and help identify areas of underperformance. It can also identify countries from which lessons can be learned. Our analysis of the key sustainability factors provide an additional dynamic perspective on the enablers that can play a role in generating and maintaining progress. The three time horizons of current-level development, recent progress, and long-term sustainability together provide a diagnostic and benchmarking basis that can help policymakers and stakeholders develop or refine national strategies for socioeconomic development and improvements in well-being.

    In BCG’s work with governments, we have always found that creating a solid and common fact base for comparing a country against a set of appropriate peers can help identify strengths as well as areas in need of improvement. Such comparisons can also promote consensus and galvanize a nation’s leadership and population toward common goals. In addition, comparisons of the main dimensions of socioeconomic development can facilitate discussion of specific strategies and action plans in particular areas.

    Understanding where a country stands today is useful. But better decisions can be made by understanding the pace of development and, crucially, the underlying enablers that drive development in the long term. Identifying countries that do well overall and in specific dimensions is helpful as a potential source of lessons. We offer our work on SEDA as a contribution in that regard. This is a complex endeavor, and far more research is required before we can fully understand the factors that have the greatest impact on converting wealth into well-being and that make it possible to generate and sustain performance.

    The use of SEDA should, of course, be accompanied by country-specific analysis, an appreciation for where a country is today, a deep assessment of programs already under way, and extensive stakeholder discussions. Only then is it possible to reach specific conclusions. A BCG Sustainable Economic Development Assessment can be a valuable component of any effort to rethink national development strategies with the aim of improving well-being.