A large number of big projects are coming up in developing and least developed countries. These big projects are usually infrastructure projects. Developing countries of Asia and least developed ones of Africa face a lot on infrastructural bottlenecks. As these countries post higher economic growth, they need more infrastructure – such as roads, bridges and power plants – to support this growth.
Many private companies are working on these large infrastructure projects. Some of these projects are solely with them while others are in partnership with respective governments (public-private partnership model).
Managing a large infrastructural project in a developing country has many unique challenges. There is often the problem of delay in decision making because of too much bureaucracy. The red-tape in developing countries is much more than in developed ones. Private companies that are used to working in developed ones often find it difficult to navigate through this sea of red-tape when they take projects in developing countries.
Another problem is that of political and bureaucratic corruption. Corruption in many developing nations of Asia and Africa is very high. This corruption adds on to the final cost of the project and often ends up spoiling the initial cost estimates of project managers.
There is also shortage of skilled human resources. So many companies doing large-scale projects in developing countries also have to invest in training and education of the human resources that they employ.
Delay in acquisition of land for large scale projects has been a big problem in India in recent years. Political protest by vested interests and litigations by non-government organizations (NGOs) against these projects have cost private companies doing the projects much.
In spite of these unique challenges of project management in developing and least developed countries, it is wise for many large companies to take up infrastructure projects in these countries. These countries are the markets of present and future. Much of economic growth that the world is seeing today is happening here in these nations. So any company that skips these countries because of the challenges and obstacles that they present, will lose out in the near future. Successful project management requires understanding of the unique challenges that these countries present and how to deal with these challenges in a constructive manner.