UNDP creates momentum to advance private sector engagement on the SDGs

Dec 12, 2017

UNDP Ethiopia hosted its first CEO’s breakfast meeting to promote the private sector’s engagement on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country.

State Minister Getachew Adem of the National Planning Commission shared the Government’s vision in strengthening the public-private partnership, affirming, “The future is for the private sector to play a vital role in the energy sector and in the infrastructure development.”

Setting the global context for the engagement with the private sector, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, UNDP Resident Representative said “The UN-Private Sector partnership on SDGs is not something we are trying to create only for Ethiopia. Globally the UN started engaging with the private sector through the UN Global Compact Initiative that provides space for the sector to play an active role in aligning strategies to advance societal goals.”

The 2017 African Economic Outlook report indicates that in developing countries, the private sector, on average, accounts for 90% of employment, 80% of Capital flows and 60% of GDP. It also highlights private investment and capital flows such as remittances at USD 57.5 billion and $66.2 billion are higher than official development assistance at USD 56.5 billion and other resources.

There is no business case for enduring poverty, the participants heard as the experiences of Safaricom was shared by  Mr. Joseph Ogutu, acting interim CEO of Safaricom and Director of Strategy and Innovation. He underlined that private sector should be led by values and that businesses should have a long vision. He also noted that, “Investing in innovation, developing high quality affordable products and operating in equitable resilient environment are some of the principles Safaricom has excelled to ensure environmental and social sustainability.”

At the regional level, UNDP Regional Services Centre for Africa creates linkages, promote innovative approaches and catalyze action for the SDGs.  Some inspiring initiatives from around Africa were shared with the participants including the Agribusiness Supplier Development Programme; African Youth Entrepreneurship Online Portal; Inclusive Business Ecosystem Initiatives and Youth Connect Africa.  

UNDP’s CEO breakfast meeting is the initial engagement ahead of a long term private sector platform that is expected to be set up in 2018.

UNDP’s Country Director, Ms. Louise Chamberlain, concluded the meeting by noting that going forward “We have a lot do” and acknowledging that “The private sector is an indispensable partner to meet the SDGs in Africa or elsewhere.”

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