domingo, 17 de mayo de 2009

INCLUSIVE BUSINESS – THE ROLE OF PRIVATE COMPANIES IN COOPERATION TO DEVELOPMENT


PPP – Public Private Partnership. It is very often used in the field of the relations between Public Administration and private companies.

Inclusive Business. The private companies as drivers of development. To include small/micro companies in the value chain of bigger companies. It is based on the idea that poverty is best understood as a lack of opportunities. Hence, a corporation providing business opportunities to the poor, even if it is for profit, is understood as cooperation to development. Inclusive business implies a mindset change: from philanthropy to Corporate Social Responsibility… further on…. inclusive business.

The standpoint of Inclusive Business is new as, since now, cooperation to development was mainly an issue of governments giving funds and of NGOs executing cooperation on the field.

In the workshop I assisted a few weeks ago, big names from ODCE, BID, ONUDI among others exposed theories and a few cases of inclusive business: a corporation creating a network of saleswomen (mostly housewifes), and a distribution network of products in housekeeping and food. One of the projects was in a slum in Peru.

The way it was exposed was great, and we could see big benefits for everybody…. But there is a deep debate behind.

a.- On one hand, we have clear and real benefits for poor people, who can access to a new income source, who are trained in business, and who gain a relevant job and personal experience.

b.- On the other hand, we have clear profit (or loss?) for the corporation. It is fair to say that although the corporation looks for profit, they do have to invest and, somehow, to risk money and credibility.

The discussion is currently open and vivid in all fields. Nobody set, up to now, clear criteria of what is acceptable or not to be funded with public money. And the public agencies for development are now working on this debate... believe me... I could see this.


What is the thin red line that governments and public agencies for development can NOT cross?

What may be financed with our money and what should not?