I often hear the complaint that one of the main difficulties for strategic development projects is converting plans and studies into concrete action. One of the best examples that I have seen of a project being able to do exactly that is one from a perhaps surprising part of the world - the Maputo Corridor between South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland (www.mcli.co.za).
Here, they have married the public and private sectors into an effective, forward-looking organisation which has delivered real results in improvement the flow of border traffic and goods along the route. I can't claim to have carried out an in-depth assessment of the whole process, but even a cursory knowledge of the MCLI points to one factor which is common across all such co-operation actions - people. A dynamic CEO, fully committed to the project, has clearly driven the project forward, selling the concept, making the contacts, and lobbying for change and investment.
Time and again, we see the people principle at the very heart of cross-border and transnational co-operation. Without committed, dedicated people, co-operation cannot work, no matter what funding or paper agreements might be in place. With such people, impossible is nothing, to pirate a current advertising phrase.