Monday, November 17, 2008

A crude Attempt at Scenario Planning

Scenario planning is a discipline for rediscovering
the original entrepreneurial power of creative
foresight in the contexts of accelerated change,
greater complexity and genuine uncertainty
--- Pierre Wack, Royal/Shell, 1984
Let me start by saying: I am no Futurist. Seriously, I have no time for this prognostication mambo jumbo. It is challenging, time-consuming and engaging enough being a Quant.
That is why the question of scenario planning and those sorts of issues that float in one's mind when in cloud cuckoo-land should not, as a matter of fact, be rumbling through my mind at a time when I am supposed to be busy coding and modeling the structured products on my desk; at least, not at the rate at which it seems to be toing and froing across my cerebral hemispheres.
Bear with me as I can't help but blog about it in order to stop it from encroaching on my personal and professional turf.
Seriously though, there is no doubt that a skillfully executed scenario planning is beneficial to Corporates as well as Nations, especially at times of great uncertainties such as the one we are currently experiencing. For us Ghanaians, it can help us to analyse and scrutinize the assumptions about the way Ghana has worked over the past years so that we could align our socio-economic policies and development paradigms closely with expected realities.
I present 3 plausible scenarios in Ghana for the forthcoming Republic.
Let us name the 3 scenarios: Alpha, Beta and Zeta.


A visionary leader is elected as the president of the Republic after a free and fair elections in December who has the support of the legislature and the goodwill of all Ghanaians. A conducive environment is created for the private sector, public enterprises and FDIs to thrive thus, propelling GDP growth to 8-10%. The oil money is spent judiciously to diversify the economy. Corruption is tackled seriously. Booming tourism and commercial activities propel Ghana to become the de-facto business hub of West Africa. Challenges in education, health, housing and infrastructural development are successfully tackled. These successes lead to greater export earnings, peace and prosperity across the whole nation. MDGs successfully met. Rapid improvements in living standards . Ghana thrives.


A mediocre leader is elected. Less or no improvement in economic growth. Corruption is unchecked. Oil money siphoned abroad. Potential investors move elsewhere,Capital flight, increased armed robbery. Few super rich and massive poverty. Increase divide between the economic development of the North and the South. Foreigners own the large chunk of Ghana's wealth. Reduced remittance, less money in fiscus. Education, health, housing, infrastructural development is half-hearted . Few doctors in hospitals, Professionals agitated,Skilled Ghanaians emigrate elsewhere. Discontented populace. No peace, neighbouring countries surpass Ghana. MDGs totally unmet. Deterioration of living standards. Ghana remains in the woods.


Crisis is sparked by violence after the December election. A coup d'etat brings back the army. The economy shrinks. Skills and expertise move out. Corruption is entrenched. FDIs and private remittances cease. Growth prospects completely curtailed. 'Niger-delta' scenario repeats in Ghana.Ghanaians begin to flock to neighboring countries. Civil war . Ghana on her knees.


This is a crude attempt to design some plausible scenarios. Even though unscientific, any of the three scenarios are capable of occurring if the 'appropriate' conditions are present. The ultimate purpose of scenario planning, of course, is an attempt to streamline our decisions to match a much more probable future.

Let me know what you think, folks!


novisi said...

wonderful man!

i'm always drawn to real issues...realities...i mean your mention of 'appropriate conditions' as a catalyst is just spot on!

some keep pretending dangerously and i'm getting sick of it all because i expect work to be done not cheap talk or show!


posekyere said...

You are a pretty serious soul, Novisi!


Let us hope that we arrive at the first scenario or a better one for the good of Ghana.
Be as it may, we have to ask tough questions so that we can get a sense of where we are at present. That, I believe, is the plausible approach towards mapping our way forward to where we want to be tomorrow.

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

I guess we all do some scenario planning in our minds. Along the line, it felt like dreaming, just dreaming. But I saw, at the end, what serious business it is. Plus your very graphic example brought it home to me in an almost horrific way. I won't say much about the examples in themselves, because they were just examples (although serious) no? But I am thinking of ways in which I can apply scenario planning to my personal life. This was soooooooooo much learning. Thanks.

posekyere said...

Hi Nana,

You are right.The three scenarios were very much examples.They were planned without any scientific means whatsoever.
There is this famous scenario planner, who has worked out that the impending scenario called "New Balls, Please" will bring serious challenges globally.He estimates that the present global financial quadmire will last somewhere between two to three years. During that time, it is expected that, many people will be retrenched.
Already here in South Africa, we are beginning to see the retrenchments. We are told that they will get worse by next year.
Again, this "New Balls,Please" scenario will lead to a shedding of the ways many corporates have been run. The competition will be brutal and many big enterprises( the fords,chryslers and General Motors ,etc.) will be forced into a merger to survive.
So definitely one has to plan ahead of the what could become a nasty situation for many people.

Maya said...

This is just excellent! All the scenarios are possible, after all, Kenya showed us that anything is possible even in peaceful countries.

The real beauty of a democracy is that no matter which party one supports, the scenarios can still be applied. It is such a subjective game, politics!

posekyere said...

Thanks Maya,
You are so right!
Let us keep on praying that we make the right choices for a better Ghana.
I whole-heartedly believe in Ghana's future, but we shouldn't take chances.
The sowing of seeds of war and violence can lead to some pretty dire scenarios.

Bless you , Maya.