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Business acts to fight poverty

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Economic Development

Readers of my earlier blog will be familiar with the Business Call to Action (BCtA), a great initiative that aims to get business involved in the development agenda by thinking how, through their core business activities, they can have a positive impact on the lives of people in developing countries. Our team has been working hard alongside the UN Development Programme to commemorate the 1 year anniversary of the initiative to celebrate the successes so far and look to the future.

Tshidi Mokgabudi from KPMG's 'Obabia Foundation' posts her signed commitment to the BCtA
Tshidi Mokgabudi from KPMG

On Thursday 11th June, representatives from 60 African and international businesses came together along with other dignitaries including the Ugandan Minister of State for Industry and Technology the Hon Simon Lokodo for a side event at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town 2009. They discussed the good progress the 18 initiatives that have already been announced have made towards their aim of improving the lives of people in poor countries. There was also exciting news from Microsoft Africa, Goldman Sachs and Biwater that they intend to develop initiatives under the BCtA. The details of these intiatives will be formally announced once they have been fully developed.

One of these ideas put forward was plans by Biwater to finance, design and construct a water treatment plant in Omdurman, part of the Sudanese capital Khartoum. Biwater is a British company that specialises in water management and treatment. Through the use of innovative financing, the company will bring, for the first time, clean and safe water to 1.5 million people in this poor suburb of Khartoum, many of whom have moved here to escape conflict, poverty or environmental degradation. It is envisaged that if this project is successful it can be expanded to other countries in Africa. The details of the project are still to be finalised in collaboration with the BCtA partnership; watch this space for details of the formal announcement of this initiative!

The DFID website has a more comprehensive note of the event itself, as well as details of how else we work with business to tackle poverty across the globe. I will add videos from Coca-Cola and MAP International when I can upload them and the full collection of videos from the event will be available on the Business Call to Action website soon!

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  1. Comment by tchana delmas posted on

    i need all information that can help me and my organisation to fight poverty

  2. Comment by MichaellaS posted on

    tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!

  3. Comment by grafter posted on

    This is a brilliant scheme. I am a product designer and i have been working with several large water charities to develop better irrigation systems in ledc's. these kind of projects are happening more and more which is great.

  4. Comment by Margaret Lumu posted on

    It is wonderful that business are coming in the third world countries to contribute to these countries economic development. What I would like to see is that these so called investors respect the civil liberties of the local communities and ensure environment protection. Uganda is such a country where investors have more rights than the local communties. They come and build dangerous industries in areas that are residential areas. The local communities are not consulted, they cannot question the planning and NEMA who have alegal responsiblity to the environment are headed by supporters of the government so they do not question town councils who give these people planning rights. One place in Uganda that I have visited recently is in Kakajjo Bweyogerere i.e about seven miles from the capital Kampala where Industries like Steel, pharmacetical, Rubber and plastic are developing side by side with peoples home. What is the good in this investiment if all people around this area die from pollution coming from these industries.

    People in Uganda have a right to live in clean , safe environment with no fear of indusrial accidents or contracting terminal illness caused by these industries who are owned by so called investors. This is not tackling poverty or ensuring environment sustainablity. It is sad that the DFID funds business people and governments who tread of peoples civil rights.