Building Inclusive Business is the way to development for Africa

Apr 22, 2016

Ms. Rosa Malango (centre, in white) and other participants of the Strengthening Inclusive Business Ecosystems in Africa workshop after the breakfast meeting with CEOs, on her right is the Ms. Maria Mutagamba, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities while on her left is the Permanent Secretary for the same Ministry, Ambassador Patrick Mugoya. Also seated are Mr. Patrick Bitature, the Chairman of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (2nd from the right), and Ms. Almaz Gebru, UNDP Country Director (1st from the right) and Ms. Caroline Tissot, Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation ( 1st from the left).

Kampala - Building inclusive businesses that improve the livelihoods of poor and economically excluded is the key to accelerating Africa's development potential.

This was pointed out by Ms. Rosa Malango, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative & the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Uganda during the  “CEO’s breakfast meeting, a side event during the first ever institutional capacity building meeting on Strengthening Inclusive Business Ecosystems in Africa.

Ms. Malango described inclusive business as a promising approach to bringing the benefits of economic growth directly to low-income people by including them within the entire value chain of activities from production to marketing.

“That is why at UNDP, we believe that private sector must be engaged and nurtured to actively contribute to inclusive growth through job creation, providing access to markets and income opportunities for the poor,” she said.

Inclusive business therefore encourages a new generation of entrepreneurs who can contribute actively to enhancing the quality of life and the efforts of Government and hence supporting the achievement of the new Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ms. Maria Mutagamba, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, said that the time is right to engage and call upon the Private sector to join the efforts of Government and the development partners in levelling the landscape of opportunities for our societies.

“The notion of Inclusive business options, makes economic sense. Our common future, can only be secured when everyone has share of opportunity cake, our economies can only expand when the middle class and purchasing power of all grows, innovation and growth can only occur when more of our citizens are skilled and capitalised,” she said.

Speaking at the same meeting, Mr. Patrick Bitature, the Chairman of the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) and the Simba Group of Companies, called on private sector to do more to ensure their businesses are more inclusive.

“Government is already on working on several issues at the macro level such as infrastructure, but how about the micro level? This is where we as private sector need to be,” Bitature said.

Tourism, now Uganda’s number one foreign exchange earner was noted for its ability to promote inclusive business.  UNDP Uganda is already supporting various initiatives with in the sector to ensure that the key tourism players are able to include the local communities in their businesses through efforts such as employment, developing pro-poor tourism products and offering tourism experiences.

Community led tourism initiatives such as the Entanda cultural site in Mityana, which some of the workshop participants visited are a great example of community involvement. At Entanda, tourists get to interface with the community and its daily activities some of which are no longer carried out such as hunting. They are also able to take part in preparation and tasting of local dishes, hiking through the surrounding forest, weave baskets and see how the traditional bark cloth is made among other things.  Tourists can also buy some of the already made products such as mats, baskets and also fresh fruit leaving the community with income and also a genuine desire to preserve their culture and environment.

The three day Strengthening Inclusive Business Ecosystems in Africa regional workshop was attended by over 50 participants from 23 African countries.

The participants who were from UNDP Country offices and Government entities were equipped with knowledge, skills and tools that will be valuable in fostering inclusive business initiatives that accelerate the growth and scale-up of inclusive business in Africa.

Discussions on the challenges the private sector face in operating in low-income markets and how UNDP can support their efforts were particularly enriching for the participants as they provided insight for meaningful partnership with the private sector in solving sustainable development challenges.

These discussions are part of UNDP’s efforts to enriching its engagement with the private sector and involving them in the journey to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Uganda’s Vision 2040.

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