Convened by UNDP with support from other UN agencies and the World Bank in
Tanzania, more than 60 representatives from the government of Tanzania, the
private sector, civil society, and the donor community came together in Dar es
Salaam on 30 September for a two-day workshop on the “Growing Sustainable
Business in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Initiative”. The Initiative
aims to find ways to increase pro-poor business and to facilitate greater
business involvement in development and poverty reduction efforts.
The event was opened by the Deputy Minister of Finance, Honorable Abdulsalaam Khatibu, (MP) and the Director of Poverty Eradication, Office of the Vice-President, Dr. Servacius Likwelile. The international coordinator of the Growing Sustainable Business in LDCs Initiative, Mr. Richard Sandbrook, facilitated the event.
Participants discussed how business can help Tanzania improve its domestic investment environment, the growth of the domestic business sector and on how to meet the development targets as spelt out in the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS).
The workshop also focused much attention on a select number of proposed sustainable business projects, and how these could be developed and implemented in ways that ensure both commercial sustainability and positive local development impact. Included were projects championed by both international and domestic private companies, addressing issues such as provision of telecom and electricity services in rural Tanzania, as well as linking large companies with local farmers and small entrepreneurs for the supply of alternative fuels and agriculture commodities.
“This Initiative offers an exceptional opportunity for greater business involvement in overcoming the poverty trap”, said UNDP Resident Representative Mr. John Hendra. “It is my strong belief that the Growing Sustainable Business Initiative is highly relevant for Tanzania, since it is clearly in line with the need to engage business more actively in the PRS Review and in the achievement of the MDGs, as well as with key initiatives such as the Investors’ Roundtable.”
The workshop concluded with a strong commitment from its participants, including from the leading companies involved, to move several of the discussed projects forward and to establish a local framework for advancing the overall Growing Sustainable Business Initiative in Tanzania.
The Growing Sustainable Business in LDCs initiative originated in the 2002 Global Compact Policy Dialogue 2002 on “Business and Sustainable Development”, and was globally launched at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. It recognizes that little of the increase in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to developing countries over the last decade goes to the Least Developed Countries. In addition, it also recognizes that by developing innovative products, services and approaches, and by working more closely with other sectors, the private sector can significantly contribute to sustainable development through its commercial investments. The initiative therefore aims to facilitate and increase investments and business activities that have a positive impact on sustainable development and on the Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs) in particular on local economic development.
In the pilot phase of the GSB initiative, activities are currently undertaken or planned in the following countries: Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Angola.
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