HOW TO ENGAGE BUSINESSES IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
When the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) negotiations concluded, WTO members and many businesses recognised that the TFA could only be fully implemented if the public and private sectors worked together. At the same time on the broader development stage, it is widely accepted that realising the UN Sustainable Development Goals depends on tapping into not just the finances but also the human resources, ideas and technologies of business.
The need for businesses to play a hands-on role in tackling global issues seems more important than ever today as the world grapples with the global COVID-19 pandemic. Our first thoughts probably turn to manufacturers of medical supplies donating products or private healthcare companies offering resources to state health services.
Yet, there are other examples of how all types of companies can contribute. For instance, IPSOS, a leading data intelligence firm, is working with the African Centre for Disease Control and the NGO Resolve to Save Lives to gather insights and develop guidance on COVID-19 preventative measures for countries in the African Union. And, three US tech firms are working with the UK’s National Health Service to explore how data could be used to predict where ventilators, hospital beds and medical staff will be most needed.
How can we incentivise businesses to continue to get involved in international development?
The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, an initiative working in the aid for trade sphere, has recently taken stock of how it is engaging with the private sector with the aim to improve the ease of trade in developing and least developed countries. The Alliance identified four key insights into what motivates businesses to get involved, and consequently how to position itself to unlock those resources – to the tune of over US$5 million so far.
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