Consultants versus gorillas
Tuesday 17th Oct, 2017
By Fiona Czerniawska.
At the last count, it’s been estimated that around 900 gorillas live in the lush, dense forests of Rwanda. The gorillas are protected, and rightly so, but our research suggests that management consultants may be even rarer...
As part of our annual exercise to size the global consulting market, we’ve estimated that there are around 15 bona fide consultants based in Rwanda. In fact, we calculate that the gorillas outnumber the consultants 60:1, which means that, while there’s one gorilla every 30km2, you may need to cover 1756km2 before you come across a decent management consultant.
Leaving aside the tantalising prospect of creating a sanctuary to protect Rwandan consultants, this data is a salutary reminder of how difficult it can be to estimate the amount of money that’s spent on consulting services every year. What consulting work there is in Rwanda is largely aid-funded: that’s not unusual for a tiny, emerging economy in a remote part of the world, but it creates challenges in terms of what constitutes the local market–decisions about which consulting firm wins what aid-related work are typically taken elsewhere. Without a critical mass of local buyers, demand is unpredictable, and a single project can produce wild swings in terms of overall size. Operational difficulties also mean that many consulting firms prefer to fly their people in for projects rather than expect them to live locally. Finally, there’s the thorny question of who’s included, or not, in our model. For sheer reasons of practicality, we exclude consulting firms with fewer than 50 consultants and freelance consultants, as it’s impossible to size this part of the market with any degree of accuracy. Our definition of consulting also excludes areas such as systems implementation.
By comparison, estimating the number of gorillas is easy...
If you’d like to know more about how we size the consulting market in Rwanda and bigger, more important markets, you can watch our video here.