Cape Town, South Africa. Involving low-income communities in markets and businesses across Africa is essential for economic growth to translate into sustainable development, according to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report released today.
Realising Africa’s Wealth – Building Inclusive Businesses for Shared Prosperity draws upon 43 in-depth case studies and a database of 600 institutions to portray the state of inclusive business in Africa, looking at a wide spectrum of sectors from banking to agribusiness.
Making sure all African citizens can become entrepreneurs, consumers, employees or producers, requires business environments that provide opportunities for all, the report says. “Market information, policies and legal frameworks that reduce transaction costs, financing and logistical assistance are key to ensuring businesses that are inclusive of the poor can succeed,” it adds.
The report describes the status of inclusive business in sub-Saharan Africa and the environment needed to support the enterprises and entrepreneurs. Italso iidentifies promising opportunities in enabling enterprises and entrepreneurs to build more – and stronger – inclusive businesses.
The report also calls for more efforts to support inclusive businesses with incentives and investment schemes as well as knowledge sharing about market information and implementation.
“Africa has seen some strong economic growth over the past decade. Nonetheless, rapid economic progress has not brought prosperity to all, and inclusive business represents a promising approach by bringing the benefits of economic growth directly to the poor by including them in value chains,” Deputy Director of UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, Babacar Cissé, says.
“We need young entrepreneurs and innovators as drivers of inclusive businesses. We need organisations that are willing to take the roles of catalysts, supporters and funders of inclusive businesses,” Cissé adds.
By working together to increase information, incentives, implementation support and investments required to make businesses more inclusive, the report makes the case that policy-makers, business owners and development practitioners in Africa will be in a position to make dramatic advances across the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Prepared by UNDP’s African Facility for Inclusive Markets, the report examines the approaches and conditions required to bring economic growth closer to low-income communities in Africa, focusing on how businesses can more readily include them as consumers, entrepreneurs and employees.
Facilitating business and market creation not only generates income, but also basic goods, services and choices, with important implications for each of the MDGs, the eight internationally-agreed targets which aim to reduce poverty by 2015.
Download the reporthere: www.undp.org/africa/privatesector
(Issued by UNDP, final editing by Issa Sikiti da Silva).