Question (Jürgen Nagler): What role do you see for social entrepreneurs and businesses subscribing to corporate social responsibility in helping to overcome poverty in Africa? How should governments in developed and developing countries work together with these agents?
Answer (Jeffrey Sachs): Social entrepreneurs are crucial in demonstrating how new technologies or management strategies can be applied in low-income settings to raise the wellbeing and productivity of the poor. For example, social entrepreneurs such as Rotary International have led the way on polio reduction. Social entrepreneurs have championed the use of improved farm practices and high-yield seed varieties. Social entrepreneurs have spread the use of small-scale irrigation systems. Social entrepreneurs have pioneered the use of micro-finance. The key for governments and other large donors is to watch the successes of social entrepreneurs and stand ready to help take those successes to scale. Usually, the novel approach requires some subsidy for the poorest of the poor, so that the good idea can spread simply on its own. It needs some kind of official or donor backing.
Read the full Q & A with Jeffrey Sachs.