Ahead of the General Assembly's ministerial-level Dialogue on Financing for Development next week, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has issued a report outlining ways to create a healthy business environment that can help boost socio-economic growth in poor countries.
The report covers a range of issues dealing with strengthening the role of the private sector and entrepreneurship in financing for development and examines the key requirements for improving the overall business environment in developing countries. It focuses on six main criteria in that regard: appropriate and enforceable regulations; labour and related standards; access to finance; infrastructure; accurate timely information, and macro-economic stability.
Mr. Annan also highlights measures that can create healthy firms and strengthen entrepreneurship in local economies, particularly creating conditions that promote skills training and learning. He stresses that entrepreneurship is responsible for much of the competition and innovation in the business world and is also held as central to nations trying to attain competitiveness in international markets.
"Innovation" in the financing for development arena is defined in a broad sense, and includes the introduction of new goods and services, the development of new marketing strategies, the opening up of new markets and the creation of new industries in a given sector. The Secretary-General notes that entrepreneurs are generally divided into "necessity entrepreneurs", who try to start up a business because they have no jobs, and "opportunity entrepreneurs", who fulfil traditional entrepreneurship roles.
As for pursuing opportunities for entrepreneurship in developing and least developed countries, the report suggests the strengthening of global public-private partnerships, boosting private sector networks, linking smaller business to help facilitate the transfer of technology and information, and targeting the poorest consumers, who are generally eager to purchase quality goods and services, in new and innovative ways.
The overall focus of the Assembly's High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development will be on the status of worldwide efforts to implement the Monterrey Consensus and the way forward. The two-day meeting, set for 27 and 28 June, will be built around a series of formal and informal meetings and six interactive round-table discussions on issues that include international trade as an engine for development, and mobilizing domestic financial resources for development.
The Monterrey Consensus is the landmark agreement adopted by world leaders in Mexico at the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development (ICFD). It calls for the resources to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the conditions that will enable freer trade, more foreign investment, debt relief and efficient government. The MDGs are a set of targets designed to halve or eradicate listed socio-economic ills by 2015.