12 June 2012

UNDP's innovative way on private sector development through Project Facilitation Platforms in Africa

I am excited to share with you UNDP's innovative way on private sector development through Project Facilitation Platforms to boost food production and job & income opportunities for farmers through advancing agriculture value chains.

UNDP's regional private sector project in Africa, the African Facility for Inclusive Markets (AFIM), is launching such platforms in East, West and Southern Africa. Stakeholders representing governments, UN agencies, private sector, farmers, financiers and civil society are discussing partnerships and value addition of the various partners in strategic agri-food value chains.

I am writing this from the first platform for East Africa launched this week in Nairobi convening partners from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia. Project promoters presenting planned interventions include Africa Harvest, East Africa Dairy Development Project and UNIDO/UNDP to advance specific projects of sorghum, soy and dairy value chains.

Aeneas Chuma, UNDP Resident Representative who opened the Nairobi workshop stated: “A new private sector is emerging in Africa with great potential for creating new jobs, generating higher incomes and delivering products and services for all. Agriculture value chains and agribusiness are critical to advance food security and economic opportunities”.

The platforms are unique by focusing on cross-border and regional value chains, bringing all relevant players together and building capacity of regional institutions to organize such platforms themselves in the future. Furthermore, bridges are built between public and private sectors as well as between policy and practical project implementation issues.

“UNDP’s African Facility for Inclusive Markets is brokering partnerships and building capacity to develop inclusive markets that contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and inclusive economic growth. The level of participation for this East Africa platform is very encouraging, and we will launch similar initiatives in West Africa and Southern Africa,” said Tomas Sales, AFIM Manager.

With the positive start and feedback from the East Africa platform, I am looking forward to tangible impact of the strengthened projects and to the platforms in West Africa (July 2012) and Southern Africa (end of 2012).

24 January 2012

"Entrepreneurs: The World needs You!" article in Special Issue of Thunderbird International Business Review

It is with great pleasure that I am sharing with you my first internationally published article, in the Thunderbird International Business Review (TIBR) Special Issue on "The Fight Against Poverty", called "Entrepreneurs - The World needs You!". The fight against poverty is actually for me more a quest/path for a better world through more consciousness, inclusive and sustainable development.

I wrote this piece in personal capacity and I am an authentic believer in several global initiatives of the UN, its vision and potential of inclusive and conscious business for sustainable development. Therefore, I naturally mentioned several of UN's initiatives in this area I have been involved with such as the Global Compact, Growing Sustainable Business and Inclusive Market Development.

While this article calls on entrepreneurs and business people, in fact the world needs the full, authentic, conscious You, i.e. Essence/Potential/Soul of each of us. I hope its an inspiring article that you enjoy. Any feedback most welcome.

The way we see the role of business is changing dramatically. What have we learned from the recent and ongoing crises? Where does one look for guidance on the “right thing to do” now? In a world where we live on one globe, it is time to shift our energy to real responsibility and sustainability. This requires a new paradigm. As Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” We are not separated from our environment, nature, and society; we are actually a part of it.

Therefore, let us unleash entrepreneurship and the power of business in a way to serve us more holistically. This new type of thinking, this expanding consciousness, is giving birth to all the new concepts of social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, corporate sustainability, inclusive business, conscious capitalism, and sustainable development.

On the global level, there are increasing numbers of business-oriented initiatives aimed at steering the power of business toward the public good such as the UN Global Compact and the Business Call to Action. Where to look for inspiration at the individual level? Within yourself. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “You have to be the change you want to see in the world.”

Continue reading the Full Article (PDF).