From gender equality to sustainability, the key catalyst will be a new approach to development finance. Profit is not a dirty word and growth is not the overriding objective. Rather, numerous considerations need to be taken into account, from environment to income inequality.
The Third Annual Conference on Financing for Development sponsored by the UN, World Bank, World Trade Organization, the UN Development Program (UNDP) + UNCTAD is now taking place Addis Ababa.
Perhaps the first duty of business should be “heal thyself.” Misguided and inefficient development projects have at times been the cause for perpetuating and/or accentuating from inequality to environmental degradation. Ethiopia, as host has also exhibited a mixed human rights record and its political system remains suspect to cronyism and authoritarianism. If free media and accountability are a foundation for wise development and investment, then Ethiopia’s and region’s recent history does not promise a good return.
Nonetheless, the dialogue is welcome, along with the scrutiny that such should encourage. Further, enhancing public/private investment partnerships may have flaws and potential for abuse, but it also offers a needed alternative, if not the only option. (Also read: “More Fertile #Ecommerce Environment Urged by UN” )