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The Global Role Model - GlobalScot's Interview with Yevgeny Kuznetsov

Yevgeny Kuznetsov, senior economist at the World Bank Institute K4D ProgramGlobalScot have become a global role model, and, more importantly a mentor to networks of expatriate talent in Chile, Mexico, South Africa and other middle-income countries. (Not a model to replicate -- that often followed route is a recipe to failure). GlobalScot executives accompanied various Diaspora events in Chile, Buenos Aires and Mexico, in a person and by GDLN. To reflect on a partnership between GlobalScot and K4D Program, Yevgeny Kuznetsov,  senior economist at the World Bank Institute,  discussed in the interview why GlobalScot is so relevant for middle-income developing economies. Below are selected excerpts from the interview.


Yevgeny Kuznetsov explained that many countries have now recognized that establishing linkages with talented nationals who are living abroad is becoming a central issue of economic development. “You can't stop the brain drain,  but you can harness it in order to gain benefit from it,” he said. “The best way to do that is not by trying to get expatriates to return, but by developing linkages with them which engage them in projects with their home country.

“That is extremely hard to do and I think GlobalScot is one of the very few examples where they have managed to do it very well,” Kuznetsov said.

The leading economist also said his research into Diaspora networks had shown that to create a successful organization such as GlobalScot requires a carefully balanced approach – not an over-reliance on an existing, informal network to produce economic growth. It is important, he pointed out, that there is a formal framework in place to maintain relationships and make sure that ideas are followed through. GlobalScot has created a framework where ideas can develop into a tangible outcome, without predetermining what that will be, he said.

“On the other hand, if you formalize a network too much, you can kill it off. That has also been a common mistake of many developing countries – they try to put together a program that is very formal and it kills all the spirit of entrepreneurship and intrinsic motivation. People will only get involved in a network like this if they want to, not because someone tells them to."

”Other common mistakes made by countries include launching a network in a blaze of publicity with a big conference, before it had been tried and had produced some successes. “I think it is very telling and positive that GlobalScot has only just held its first conference, after being in operation for several years. This meant it had tangible results it could present, and the conference was a way of celebrating credibility.”

Kuznetsov added that central to GlobalScot’s success has been the fact that it operates as a search network. “GlobalScots don't do the job themselves, but instead they help people in Scotland to find ways to solve their problems. It doesn't require a lot of time from individual GlobalScots, but their contribution is critical. They can open the door and find solutions that would not otherwise be immediately available.”

According to Mark Hallan, Head of GlobalScot,  the reaction he has received from around the world confirms that GlobalScot is widely seen as perhaps the best model for such a network. “The strength of GlobalScot comes from its structures and framework,” he said. “It’s also about recognizing the fact that networks are about individual contact. We work hard to maintain personal contact, to say thank you and to find out what’s happening with members.”

 

This note was prepared by Yevgeny Kuznetsov with contributions from GlobalScot Annual Review August 2007.

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