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Private sector partnership vital for poverty eradication

Port Vila – 12 February 2010 - Working in partnership with the private sector can lift more people out of poverty and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and moral leadership has a key role to play in this, Mark Ingram, Chief Executive Officer of Business for Millennium Development said today.
 
“The only way to unleash the latent potential of the poor and achieve the MDGs is to partner in business with the poor,” said Mr. Ingram at a lunch time session at the Pacific Conference on the Human Face of the Global Economic Crisis held in Vanuatu over the last three days.
 
Mr. Ingram was speaking to some 220 participants who are attending the conference that ends in Port Vila today. Government ministers from sixteen Pacific Island countries, parliamentarians, development partners, UN agencies, youth, women’s groups, private sector representatives and civil society organizations have been discussing specific policy options and joint actions that countries in the Pacific can take to mitigate the effects of the ongoing economic and financial crisis and build resilience for future crises.

“We should not be talking about reducing poverty, instead we should be talking about eliminating poverty, and in order to do that market forces must be channeled to the poor – and this is where the private sector comes into play,” he said.

Mr. Ingram said that the 500 million lifted out of poverty over the past 20 years have principally come out of poverty through China, India and South East Asia, unleashing the potential of their people through access to technologies and markets in the developed world.

“What is needed to reach the MDGs is a repeat of this phenomenon but over a wider base of the world’s economic pyramid,” he said.

Mr. Ingram said that mobile banking was one way to unleash the potential of the poor and added that the cost of remittances could be reduced significantly if mobile phones could be used to send remittances. He also added that the Pacific had a rich biodiversity and this could unearth the potential in the Pacific.

He emphasized that business leaders had to exercise moral leadership in order to ensure that the poor get a fair deal.

“It takes moral leadership on the part of business leaders to sacrifice profit and be prepared to enter into partnership with the poor on an equitable basis.”

Private sector partnership has been highlighted by many Pacific leaders today as one of the actions needed to address current and future financial and economic crises and protect the vulnerable.

The conference has been organized by the Government of Vanuatu with support from the United Nations, Asian Development Bank, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the University of the South Pacific.
 
For more information, please contact:
Donna Hoerder, dhoerder@unicef.org (678) 5607185
Shobhna Decloitre shobhna.decloitre@undp.org (678) 5653069; or
Reama Biumaiono Reama.biumaiono@undp.org (678) 565 3070 

 

 

 

 

 

Related links

 

UNICEF Pacific Island Countries

What we do in the region: Social policy


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