UN Private Sector Forum on Africa Showcases Newly Confident African Business Leaders

UN Private Sector Forum on Africa Showcases Newly Confident African Business Leaders

Friday, September 20, 2013 - 3:45pm

CONTENT: Press Release

New York, September 20, 2013 /3BL Media/ – After UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a high-level audience that “Africa is rising to its challenges” and that “African corporate leaders are playing a key role”, business, government, academic and civil society leaders met to discuss a private sector approach to strategic questions.

Sources of finance and the means of creating jobs, economic growth, a forward role for women and stronger education were the focus issues at the UN Private Sector Forum 2013: Africa.

Joining the Secretary-General at the Forum in New York were the Right Honourable Prime Minister Amama Mbabzi, Ministers of Governments from Africa and around the world, over 150 chief executives, and the heads of UN agencies, civil society organizations, business associations, and foundations.

The meeting was organized by the UN Global Compact, in close cooperation with the African Union, African Business Magazine, African Development Bank, ILO, UNDP, and UNESCO. It took place on the margin of the UN Global Compact’s 2013 Leaders Summit, bringing together more than 1,000 CEOs and C-suite executives.

Mo Ibrahim, a leading African entrepreneur and head of a good governance foundation, advocated for the free movement of people, goods and money on the continent. He also criticized companies that avoided taxes, costing the continent $30 billion a year and fostering aid dependency. Both measures would do much to stop corruption.

At a press conference, Dr. Anthony Mothae Maruping, Commissioner Economic Affairs of the African Union, said that, “Africa wishes to set its own agenda, set its own priorities. Africa has re-branded itself in terms of production, trade and services. The express vision of African leadership is a prosperous continent with a human setting that is integrated, peaceful, competitive and doing what is necessary for sustainability.

“The scope for private sector development in Africa is tremendous,” he added. “Africa is arising.”

Among the recommendations from round table discussions at the Forum:

  • Successful investing means betting long term, betting green, and investing right, for inclusive growth, jobs and poverty reduction. The psyche of investors needs to adopt long-term thinking.
  • Education is necessary to create entrepreneurs. Teaching the teachers is important.
  • To unlock jobs and growth, stimulate and support creativity in small- and medium-sized firms (SMEs).
  • Bring women entrepreneurs and farmers into the agricultural supply chain. Give women the title to their land.

Also addressing the luncheon was Olanrewagu Akinola, Editor of This is Africa, a publication of the Financial Times. Mr. Akinola launched the African Sustainability Barometer, a checklist of corporate sustainability practices at hundreds of firms on the continent. Produced in collaboration with the UN Global Compact, the Barometer aims to motivate companies to improve their sustainability performance and reporting, in an effort to make the business case across the continent and assist investors.

Announced at the conclusion of the meeting were 25 business commitments toward sustainable development or public-private partnerships on the continent.

Established in 2008 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the UN Private Sector Forum brings the voice of the private sector to inter-governmental negotiations on key topics during the opening weeks of the UN General Assembly. Past forums have focused on the Millennium Development Goals, food sustainability, climate change and sustainable energy.

Media Contacts

Kristen Coco
Public Affairs and Media Relations
UN Global Compact
+1 917-288-0787