On 4 July, international development experts, policy makers and business leaders met in London to discuss how the private sector can forge valuable partnerships with governments and civil society and mobilize resources to support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in Africa.
Hosted by the Business Group of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), Bending the Arc was co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP), the UN Information and Communication Technologies Task Force, and the UN Global Compact. Timed to coincide with the annual summit of the African Union in Libya and this year’s G-8 Summit, the meeting was designed to set out practical recommendations for the African Union and G8 leaderships as they prioritize actions for achieving the MDGs.
There was broad consensus among participants that the private sector has a crucial role to play if the MDGs are to be met on the African continent. “A thriving private sector is the engine for growth of any economy creating employment, stimulating economic activity and generating tax revenues," said Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group, addressing the delegates.
Speaking in the run-up to the event, Georg Kell, Executive Head of the UN Global Compact, said: "Bending the Arc's discussion of African issues – including the promotion of business as one of the principal components for economic growth and the eradication of poverty, as well as achieving the MDGs in Africa, will definitely complement the commitment of the United Nations in addressing the challenges facing the region.”
Participants at Bending the Arc included Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu (Chief Executive, New Partnership for Africa’s Development); Barbara Stocking (Director, Oxfam GB); Robert Davies (CEO, International Business Leaders Forum); Ambassador John Maresca (President, Business Humanitarian Forum), Bjorn Stigson (World Business Council on Sustainable Development); Hon. Professor Peter Anyang Nyongo (Minister of Planning and National Development, Kenya); Dr Klaus Toepfer (Executive Director, UNEP); Peter Woicke (former Executive Vice President, International Finance Corporation); Demba Ba (Head of Private Sector Development, World Bank); Hon Trevor Manuel (Minister of Finance, South Africa) and Paul Skinner (Chairman, Rio Tinto).
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