Minister Oda to engage Canadian business leaders in discussions on working together to reduce global poverty

March 2, 2012 - On March 5, 2012, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, will be hosting a roundtable with approximately 25 private sector leaders and development partners. The discussion will focus on the emerging role of the private sector in helping to reduce global poverty.

"These discussions will allow us to explore new ways of working with the Canadian private sector to identify the challenges and opportunities for a greater role to enhance the effectiveness of our development efforts," said Minister Oda. "We can draw on their expertise, knowledge, and innovation to reduce poverty more effectively around the world."

There is an increasing realization that the private sector can make important contributions to help meet development challenges in the Government of Canada's priority areas of sustainable economic growth, food security, and children and youth.

Canada is not alone in embracing the growing trend of engaging the private sector in development activities. The G20 has highlighted the private sector as an important partner to engage in development. The United Nations, through the UNDP and the UN Global Compact, is also active in promoting the inclusion of business and private sector contributions to respond to development challenges.

The "Canada and the Private Sector: Reducing Poverty—Together" roundtable will be held in Toronto. Minister Oda will welcome keynote speaker, Andrea L. Taylor, Director, North America Community Affairs, Microsoft Corporation. Participants from a wide variety of private sector organizations have been invited to attend. The event will be closed to the media.

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For more information, media should contact:

Justin Broekema
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: justin.broekema@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Backgrounder

Private sector and development—global examples

Most recently, the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan formally brought the private sector into the development effectiveness fold through a joint public-private statement, which Canada endorsed. The statement represented a commitment to collaboration and open dialogue between development actors for better development results, with principles for collaboration and connection to the aid effectiveness agenda.

Other leading donor agencies, such as the UK's DFID, AusAID, and USAID, have been active in private sector engagement this last decade by forming innovative, high-impact public-private partnerships:

  • DFID has established a Business Innovation Facility to help companies link their core business to development priorities, match finance for initiatives that scale up local development, and measure the impact of local partnership efforts.

  • AusAID has established the Enterprise Challenge Fund, which supports small businesses in developing countries. AusAID also contributes significant funds to the multidonor Rural Primary Health Services Delivery project in Papua New Guinea, which includes engagement with the private sector to improve the supply and distribution of medical supplies for rural health services.

  • USAID's Global Development Alliance is a model for public-private partnerships, mobilizing the ideas, efforts, and resources of governments, businesses, and civil society by forging alliances to stimulate economic growth, develop businesses and workforces, address health and environment issues, and expand access to education and technology. Some resulting program examples include the Angolan Development Alliance, under which the Government of Angola, USAID, and Chevron have developed an alliance where the partners jointly and equally conceptualize and manage programs, including reconstruction and development programs.