SMEs and SDGs: challenges and opportunities

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By Dr Teodorina Lessidrenska, Consultant, World Bank


This blog is part of a special series exploring subjects at the core of the Human-Centred Business Model (HCBM). The HCMB seeks to develop an innovative – human-centred – business model
based on a common, holistic and integrated set of economic, social, environmental and ethical rights-based principles. Read more about the HCBM here, and check out an event about it here
The HCBM project originated in 2015 within the World Bank’s Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development and is now based at the OECD’s Development Centre.

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Women selling eggs in Kigali, Rwanda

Recent studies show that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) account for an overwhelming majority of private sector business and economic activity in both developed and developing countries. Given the role of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)1 in the global economy, it is essential to understand their importance and potential contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)2. 

According to the World Bank3 and the OECD4, multiple reasons explain why MSME development is critical for achieving the SDGs:

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Le rôle essentiel des villes dans la coopération transfrontalière, levier de l’intégration africaine

Par Yvan Pasteur, Chef de la Division Afrique de l’Ouest à la Direction du développement et de la coopération suisse

Depuis longtemps, l’Afrique de l’Ouest est considérée comme une région en voie d’intégration. Des études déjà anciennes ont désigné l’espace SKBo, réunissant les régions de Sikasso (Mali), Korhogo (Côte d’Ivoire) et Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina Faso), comme un exemple de dynamisme et de coopération transfrontalières [i]. Pour autant, dans la zone SKBo comme dans d’autres, les potentiels n’ont encore débouché concrètement que sur un petit nombre de projets transfrontaliers. Il faut donc s’interroger sur les causes de cette progression trop lente. Continue reading

Comprendre l’initiative P20 : Une nouvelle approche de la définition de la pauvreté et des moyens de la combattre

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Abdoulaye Bio Tchané, Ministre d’État du Plan et du développement, Bénin


Pour en savoir plus sur ce thème, se reporter à la (version française) du rapport Coopération pour le développement 2018 : Agir ensemble pour n’oublier personne


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En tant que décideurs et responsables de l’action publique en Afrique, l’une des questions qui nous posent toujours problème est de définir et d’identifier clairement ce qu’est l’extrême pauvreté, et qui en sont les victimes. Au vu de mon expérience d’ancien Ministre des Finances et d’actuel Ministre d’État du Plan et du développement du Bénin, nos budgets nationaux ont toujours été par essence sociaux. Qu’entend-on par là ? La pression que font peser sur nous la pauvreté, la fragilité et la vulnérabilité nous condamne à gérer l’urgence ; et l’urgence en Afrique revient à garantir la survie au quotidien de nos concitoyens.

Toutefois, en dépit de lourds investissements dans des programmes sociaux, les frontières de la pauvreté ne reculent pas aussi vite que nous l’aurions espéré. Il y a à cela de multiples explications possibles, mais notre mission est de trouver des moyens de résoudre la question – et ce, de façon à atteindre en priorité les plus défavorisés. C’est à cette fin que le Gouvernement du Bénin, en partenariat avec le Gouvernement de la Suisse et l’ONG Development Initiatives, a lancé l’initiative P20 dans le but de remédier à la pauvreté et à la vulnérabilité, et d’honorer notre engagement de ne laisser personne de côté.

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The role of philanthropy for the SDGs is not what you expect

By Benjamin Bellegy, Executive Director, Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS); Michael Mapstone, Director of International, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF); and Lorenzo Pavone, Deputy Head of Networks, Partnerships and Gender Unit, OECD Development Centre

philanthropy-SDGsWhat will philanthropy do to get the world closer to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030?

When doctors see symptoms that are associated with common ailments, they are told to think that a typical disease, not an exotic one, is the cause. If a child arrives to a clinic with a fever, doctors first look for a common infection that could explain the symptoms, not Kawasaki. The general thinking is that the most likely explanation is often the correct one. When you hear hooves, for example, think that a regular horse is nearby, not a zebra. What does this have to do with philanthropy and development?

To many, philanthropy is a welcome source of funding for development programmes across the world. The size of philanthropic funds heading to developing countries is anything but trivial and has increased markedly over time: Recent OECD estimates show that philanthropy for development between 2013 and 2015 was around USD 8 billion a year, most of it directed towards health and reproductive health programmes, but also sectors like education and agriculture. The Foundation Center finds similar results for US foundations, estimating international giving at an average of USD 7.5 billion for the same period. Moreover, measures of generosity are increasing on a global scale, particularly in Africa according to the World Giving Index; with the expansion of the global middle class, the possibility for domestic philanthropy to play an even larger role in development is becoming even more salient. These sizable private resources are tackling social issues that other private international flows, like private investment, often can’t reach or aren’t interested in doing so. Because of all this, many are beginning to see philanthropy as a key financing source that could help close the SDG funding gap, estimated at USD 2.5 trillion up until 2030. Continue reading

How can developing countries learn to tax?

By Antonio Savoia, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester; Roberto Ricciuti, University of Verona and CESifo; and Kunal Sen, UNU-WIDER and Global Development Institute, University of Manchester

Development-Finance-shutterstock_524218915The capability to raise revenues from taxes – often called fiscal capacity – is a crucial aspect for the functioning of every state, particularly in developing countries. Two reasons account for this. First, greater fiscal capacity is fundamentally important for state formation, as it is usually associated with the creation of a civilian bureaucracy that can itself provide an enabling environment for the consolidation of statehood. Second, greater fiscal capacity implies greater access to resources needed to provide public goods. Developing countries are only able to raise a small share of taxes over GDP compared to advanced economies. They need higher revenues to invest in a number of economic and social areas that are crucial for their growth, such as healthcare, education and infrastructure. This is also relevant to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, an ambitious enterprise requiring far greater resources. Indeed, SDG 17 explicitly refers to the mobilisation of government revenues (Target 17.1).

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Trillions for the SDGs? Time for a rethink

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By Nancy Lee, Senior Policy Fellow, Centre for Global Development, and moderator during the PF4SD Conference


To learn more about this timely topic explored during
the Private Finance for Sustainable Development Week,
please visit the 
PF4SD and GPEDC websites.


In 2015, the world enthusiastically signed on to the challenge of transforming billions to trillions of dollars of private finance for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The idea was to use public and private development aid to unlock much more commercial private finance for sustainable growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. Four years later, the hoped-for trillions are nowhere in sight. In fact, we have reached the stage where we need to decide whether to change the goals we set in 2015 or take a hard, critical look at the institutions we rely on to propel mobilisation of private finance for sustainable development.

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Visualising urbanisation: How the Africapolis platform sheds new light on urban dynamics in Africa

By Lia Beyeler, Communications Officer and Nisha Schumann, Consultant, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD)

Africa’s urban population is the fastest growing in the world. By 2050, Africa’s cities will be home to nearly one billion additional people. Yet, where and how Africa’s cities of the future emerge and evolve are insufficiently understood.

Traditionally, the focus has been put on larger cities as opposed to smaller urban agglomerations. Yet, smaller agglomerations with populations between 10,000 and 100,000 inhabitants represent one-third of Africa’s overall urban population, accounting for more than 180 million people in 2015. Their significance is highlighted by the fact that many of the continent’s future cities are emerging through the fusion of smaller cities or through population densification in rural areas – trends that are not captured in official statistics and government data, which tend to focus on cities as political units with defined boundaries.

The OECD Sahel and West Africa Club’s Africapolis platform, which launched during the 8th Africities Conference in Marrakesh, seeks to bridge the gap in data on African urbanisation dynamics. It provides a powerful tool for governments, policy makers, researchers and urban planners to better understand urbanisation’s drivers, dynamics and impacts. This understanding, in turn, will help design more relevant policies that address the growing challenges of urbanisation at the local, national and regional levels. Continue reading