Business 4 Millennium Development Goals Summit
6 November 2008 at 2:51 pm
Federal Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith opened the Business for Millennium Development Goals Summit on 24 October 2008 challenging the Australian private sector to apply business skills to alleviate poverty in our region.
The summit focused on businesses finding new business opportunities for the 21st century – using core business in a way that contributes both to commercial success and to poverty alleviation.
The Minister says many Australian companies are already seeing the benefits of business opportunities which both increase profits and fuel economic growth in developing countries.
Minister Smith said Australian businesses have close economic links with developing countries in Asia. Their economies have grown rapidly in recent decades and, despite the recent financial crisis, are likely to continue to grow over the medium term.
He said because of the responsible way Australian businesses generally operate, the involvement of Australian companies promises great benefits to the peoples of these developing nations.
To achieve the Millennium Development Goals the Australian Government has committed to increase both the quantity and the quality of our development assistance.
But he said all elements of Australian society – government, NGOs and business – will be required to contribute to the achievement of the MDGs.
Development assistance, alone, will not be enough.
He said economic growth – driven by the private sector – remains the long term solution to poverty. In the end, the best form of development assistance is economic growth.
Other Summit topics included strategies in operations, procurement, supply chains and governance. The Summit focused on innovative approaches to emerging markets, including the four billion people at the base of the economic pyramid who collectively represent 5 trillion dollars in economic activity.
Case studies were presented by companies already successfully engaged with developing communities through ethical procurement, microfinance initiatives and the targeting of emerging markets.