Rob Katz

Brokering Private Investment to Alleviate Poverty

I?m typically skeptical of developmentagencies? efforts to stimulate business solutions to poverty. When it comes to the Growing SustainableBusiness (GSB) initiative of the UN Development Program, however, perhaps myskepticism is mislaid. According totheir web site,

The Growing Sustainable Business initiative facilitates business
-led enterprisesolutions to povertyin advancement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These enterprisesolutions accelerate and sustain access to needed goods/services and livelihoodsopportunities.

Typical developmentwonk-speak? The web site’s full of it,but careful reading reveals that the GSB has been able to facilitate tens ofmillions of dollars in private investment for sectors ranging from ruralelectrification to food franchising to telecom.Special brokers helpfacilitate these investments, and the initiative offers market research,business model development, financing, and implementation support. Pretty practical stuff–and it seems to beworking.