Leadership Perspectives- towards new models of collaboration
It is my firm belief that wealth creation, jobs and livelihoods above all will help poor people to lift themselves out of poverty. If you are committed to reducing poverty, you have to believe in economic development and growth. For every extra percentage point of growth in Africa more schools can be built to educate children, more health facilities will be available for the sick and more safe drinking water will be supplied to communities.
Above all, we need growth that is broad-based, inclusive and sustainable; in which all people benefit from the proceeds of prosperity; and in which even the poorest have access to the opportunities and markets that it creates. As the engine of that growth, the private sector can make a vital contribution, by creating new jobs, new trade and enterprise opportunities, new markets, and new prosperity.
For a country to grow, it has to be part of the global goods and services market, and it must also be able to access global capital. The private sector holds the key to that integration and also to the game changing innovations, described in this report, that create new opportunities for the world’s poor to access the goods and services that can transform their lives. At a time of slow growth in many developed markets, it is also worth remembering that developing countries represent a huge growing market.
That is why at the recent UN MDG Summit in New York, I joined ten other Development Ministers in endorsing a commitment to strengthen our work with the private sector, and also why I have committed to create a new Private Sector Department within the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). I want to send the clearest of signals that I believe business has a vital role to play in achieving the MDGs.
I intend to bring a new energy to Britain’s promotion of wealth creation in development and to reconfigure my department to meet this challenge. We are now working to recast DFID as a government department that understands the private sector and has at its disposal the right tools to support a vibrant, resilient and growing business sector in the poorest countries. I want the new Private Sector Department to be the place that defines, lives and breathes the new DFID culture of private sector-led development, an example for other development bodies to follow.
DFID also needs to take the opportunity to learn from business. I want to explore how we might enrich DFID’s own talent pool with a series of short-term secondments from the private sector in order to inject new, business-savvy DNA into the department. I also want the new department to bring together representatives from business to help us find bold and creative solutions to development challenges.
Over the coming months, I look forward to working closely with the business community to take forward this ambitious new agenda.
DFID is a member of the BAA Oversight Group.