A family-owned soybean business in Ghana and one of the leading telecommunications firms in the Philippines were among 10 private companies recognized today with a United Nations-backed award for their work to improve the lives of millions of people, and proving that fighting poverty is good for business.
The 2008 World Business and Development Awards (WBDA) spotlights initiatives by companies that apply their business expertise to efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the globally agreed set of eight targets for slashing poverty, illiteracy and other socio-economic ills by 2015.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s most recent report on the MDGs, released ahead of a high-level event on the issue to be convened tomorrow, showed that many countries, particularly in Africa, are lagging in the race to reach the Goals by the target date.
This year’s winners, selected from104 applications from 44 countries, include projects that provide Nigerian farmers with commercial finance and technical assistance to produce higher quality crops, expand electricity to the poorest neighbourhoods of Brazil, raise awareness about HIV/AIDS with pioneering mobile games in India and provide credit services to the poor through mobile phones in Kenya.
“As the world becomes more interdependent, doing business with the poor has shown not only to be a potential boost to a company’s competitiveness, but also – with the right business model – to be a force in the fight against poverty,” said Kemal Derviº, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), one of the sponsors of the award.
“We are presenting a new approach to develop long-term business initiatives to harness the resources and talents that are the central strength of global business. This is a potent demonstration of our collective commitment to being a strong partner to the private sector in furthering shared aims,” he added.
The award, established by the International Chamber of Commerce in 2000 and also sponsored by the International Business Leaders Forum, is one of several initiatives that recognize the contributions of the private sector to the achievement of the MDGs.