Business fraternity can save the poorest from financial slowdown’’s impact: UK minister

January 21st, 2009 - 5:14 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan.21 (ANI): Department for International Development (DFID) Minister Mike Foster here has said that the global financial slowdown is putting millions of people in poor countries at a risk of facing greater poverty and they need opportunities that businesses can offer to them.
At an event hosted here by the Department for International Development, the Overseas Development Institute and Business Action for Africa, to launch DFID’’s Private Sector Development Strategy, Mike Foster today said that the downturn had put jobs, profits and poverty reduction at risk, and it needed a new thinking and approaches for a sustained economic growth in poor countries.
“The 90 million people, who face extreme poverty because of the global slowdown, need the opportunities that business provides,” Foster said.
“We know that the private sector is the engine of economic growth, and we know that growth drives development. The corporate social responsibility approach of the last ten years does not go far enough. Supporting development is and must be a core part of what businesses do, not an altruistic add-on,” he added.
Also present on this occasion was the Oxfam CEO Barbara Stocking who said long-term investment was vital in developing countries and key sectors such as agriculture and finance.
Barbara Stocking also said, to ensure sustainable long-term development, there needed to be a dramatic increase in low-carbon private sector development to complement investment in adaptation mechanisms.
Speaker Standard Chartered Vice Chair Ann Grant said: “The biggest contribution the private sector can make to international development is to do business successfully and responsibly. One of the consequences of the global economic downturn will be a more urgent focus on how to harness core business activity as a means of generating more sustainable and effective development outcomes.”
“However, as company resources inevitably come under pressure, we need to place an even greater emphasis on new alliances and ways of working, and build the understanding and capabilities to make this work in practice,” Grant added.
Event sponsor Andy Wales, Head of Sustainable Development at SABMiller said: “At SABMiller, with 80% of our worldwide earnings come from emerging markets, it makes sound business sense for us to contribute directly to economic growth and healthy and prosperous communities in the countries we do business in. As our new Enterprise Development report shows, a key area of focus for us is maximising our business linkages to local economies through our supply and value chains, supporting local suppliers, distributors and businesses, which delivers significant and sustainable local development impacts.” (ANI)

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