Eric Kacou is Managing Director of the OTF Group, a strategy firm focused on emerging markets, where he leads the Africa and country competitiveness practices. Born and raised in Cote d’Ivoire, Eric is an expert in post-conflict economic reconstruction, competitiveness, and enterprise solutions to poverty.
Eric leads the Rwanda National Innovation and Competitiveness (RNIC) Program, an initiative sponsored by President Paul Kagame since 2000 to upgrade the competitiveness of Rwanda’s economy. The RNIC is the first of its kind in Africa, and is credited with helping Rwanda revitalize its economy, fostering the renaissance of the country’s private sector, and creating wage increases of up to thirty percent, on an annual growth basis, for workers. Eric has advised leaders of Uganda, Nigeria, Sudan, Mali, Burundi, Haiti, Bermuda, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville, and the World Bank on competitiveness and private sector development. His work has spanned tourism, agribusiness, mining, ICT, investment promotion, and institution building.
He co-founded the Academy of Leadership in Competitiveness and Prosperity (ALCP), a Kigali-based program targeting young Rwandan professionals. The ALCP aims to equip Rwanda’s next generation of leaders with the tools to take greater ownership of Rwanda’s development strategies and drive effective execution of policies. The ALCP has trained over one hundred graduates since its inception in 2007.
In addition, Eric oversees the Pioneers of Prosperity Africa awards program. This annual, multi-million dollar global initiative between the OTF Group and the Social Equity Venture Fund (SEVEN)recognizes dynamic companies in emerging markets that serve as role models for future business leaders. The 2007 Pioneers of Prosperity Africa Awards was featured in the documentary “Unlocking Africa”, by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Jeff Zimbalist. The 2008 Pioneers of Prosperity Africa Awards registered the participation of 1,500 businesses from ten African nations.
Prior to joining the OTF Group, Eric worked a strategy consultant with Monitor Company in Toronto and Paris advising senior Fortune 500 executives in pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and manufacturing. Eric advised a global pharma firm on the launch of its launch of a breakthrough drug in France, supported a North America chemical manufacturer on the optimization of its supply chain, and restructured the joint-venture portfolio of a US healthcare firm.
Eric earned his MBA at the Wharton School, and a B.A. in Finance at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) in Montreal. Eric was elected to the Wharton Executive Board for Europe, Africa and the Middle East in July 2009. He is the author of several articles on competitiveness and private sector development, and a contributor to the book In the River They Swim: Essays from Around the Globe on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty published in May 2009. Eric is a frequent speaker at development organizations, business conferences, and universities.