Harper Government supports private sector initiatives to grow economies in developing countries

June 13, 2013

Private sector-led economic growth is creating opportunities to move people from poverty to prosperity in developing countries. Today, to mark the launch event of the Canadian chapter of the United Nations Global Compact, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation and Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, reiterated Canada's commitment to help people lift themselves out of poverty and create stronger economies.

"We want to harness the expertise, resources and innovation of the private sector to help the most vulnerable," said Minister Fantino. "This leads to better job opportunities, more investment and more resources to improve productivity and public well-being."

The UN Global Compact encourages businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation. The launch of the Canadian chapter of the UN Global Compact brings together leading private sector firms operating abroad, Canadian public sector leaders, UN officials, and civil society organizations to promote responsible investment and business practices abroad.

"A strong private sector is the cornerstone for developing economies to move themselves from poverty to prosperity," said PS Brown. "The UN Global Compact is an excellent example of how Canada can facilitate partnerships and help drive innovation in order to help those most in need around the world."

Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms Canada's commitment to international development assistance, such as improving sustainable economic growth. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation and help achieve greater efficiency, accountability, and focus to continue to improve the lives of people in need around the world.

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For more information, media should contact:

Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: danielbezalel.richardsen@acdi-cida.gc.ca

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

Backgrounder

What is the UN Global Compact?

  • The UN Global Compact encourages businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation.
  • The launch of the Canadian chapter of the UN Global Compact brings together leading private sector firms operating abroad, public sector leaders, UN officials, and civil society organizations from Canada to promote responsible investment and business practices abroad.

Canada's approach to private sector-led development

  • Canada wants to harness the power, resources and innovation of the private sector to help the most vulnerable. This leads to better job opportunities, more investment and more resources to improve productivity and public well-being.
  • By placing a greater emphasis on partnering with the private sector in development, we recognize that the bulk of capital from Canada to the developing world no longer flows through our government's international assistance efforts.
  • Private investment far outpaces development assistance, private foundations and non-governmental organizations provide significant charitable support, and Canada's vibrant diaspora communities also contribute through remittances.
  • The private sector is the driving force behind economic growth and it is essential to achieving meaningful development outcomes that raise people out of poverty and put them on the road to prosperity. It is the primary source of economic growth, job creation, government revenue to finance essential public services, and the goods and services required to improve people's quality of life.
  • This is why Canada is helping developing-country partners create the conditions for strong and sustainable private sector-led growth through its Sustainable Economic Growth Strategy.
  • Countries such as South Korea, India and Brazil, which were once recipients of development assistance, including from Canada, are now at the forefront of the global economy. By growing their economies, they have pulled millions of people out of poverty in just a few decades and have grown to the point that they too are investing their own taxpayers' money in international development.

Examples:

  • Canada supports market-oriented incentives for the private sector to target investments that achieve meaningful development impact.
  • Canada encourages multi-stakeholder partnerships with private sector and non-for-profit organizations that support projects and initiatives demonstrating clear benefits in the government's thematic priority areas in development. These partnerships require private sector actors to share in the costs of delivering a particular project.
    • For example, the Government of Canada supports the Zinc Alliance for Child Health with Teck and the Micronutrient Initiative to develop and scale up zinc treatment programs to improve nutrition and help save children's lives.
  • Canada advocates for innovations that generate game-changing solutions to international development challenges. This includes supporting innovative approaches, finance instruments, and technologies that encourage private sector actors to create products and services, and to enhance the delivery of public services in developing countries to improve the lives of people most in need.     
    • For example, Canada has a strategic partnership with Grand Challenges Canada to scale up promising innovations in the area of global health, many of which are generated by social entrepreneurs.
    • Canada also supports, in partnership with the GAVI Alliance, an innovative financing approach that brings the public and private sectors together to develop and deliver much-needed vaccines to treat pneumococcal disease—a leading cause of child deaths in developing countries.