Business, the MDGs and Beyond, May 2013, Cape Town

Audio from an event convened by Business Fights Poverty and the Overseas Development Institute, Cape Town, 8 May 2013

Event Summary and Audio: Business, the MDGs and Beyond, May 2013, Cape Town

On 8 May 2013, Business Fights Poverty and the Overseas Development Institute convened an event in Cape Town to explore the role of the private sector in shaping and delivering the post-2015 development agenda. As the world starts to explore what framework might replace the MDGs, it is important to integrate the views of those investing and doing business in Africa, and to understand how best to harness business as an engine for economic development.

Business Action for Africa, the International Business Leaders Forum and the UN Business Call to Action were supporting partners. The event saw the launch of a research report by ODI.

Listen to the introduction here, and to the panel discussion here.

Speakers included:

  • Andy Wales, SVP, Sustainable Development, SABMiller
  • Fathima Dada, President, Schools International Business Unit, Pearson
  • Anne Bernstein, Executive Director, Centre for Development and Enterprise, South Africa

The moderator was Tashmia Ismail, Faculty and BOP Hub Manager, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria.

Summary of the ODI Paper: “Business and a post-2015 development framework: where next?”

This paper provides a contribution to the discussion on how the private sector can best be involved in any global development framework that follows the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), post-2015.

While there have been conversations on this issue, they tend to be fairly broad and general. So far, there have been very few specific suggestions (of which we are aware at the time of writing) on how private sector actors can actually contribute to the post-2015 agenda, or how the design and delivery mechanisms of future goals could help shape private sector behaviours, where relevant. This paper aims to help fill this gap.

While it is up to governments in the United Nations General Assembly to lead the process and design of a new framework, there is a role for the private sector in the post-2015 agenda. Drawing on a number of recent discussions in this area we have identified three key areas for private sector engagement with the new goals.

  1. Economic transformation and jobs: Not surprisingly the issue of private sector engagement in post-2015 often features in discussions about structural change, inclusive growth and jobs. Some propose that this should be captured in a new goal, which could, perhaps, encourage governments to implement policies that are relevant for private sector investment.
  2. The transparency and accountability agenda: Some suggest a goal in this area could be expanded to cover corporate behaviour, as well as that of governments, perhaps building on existing reporting mechanisms.
  3. Delivery through global partnerships: The idea is that global partnerships around different goals could be set up where relevant business expertise and resources could add value to the delivery of those goals.

But beyond these broad suggestions, there have been few attempts to work out what any of this means, specifically, in the context of the new goals. This is precisely the aim of this paper. We look at each of these options in more detail, discuss their rationale, the actors they target (e.g. SMEs, large corporations, MNCs, governments), the state of play in the area and the broad challenges, and conclude by assessing if, and how, the inclusion of the private sector in a post-2015 framework would add value.

This report summary was originally posted on ODI’s website.

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