Growth in social protection renews optimism towards sustainable development

22 Jun 2016 by Romulo Paes de Sousa, Director of the UNDP World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre) and Lebogang Motlana, Director of the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa

Worker at the Warrap State Hospital, South Sudan. Photo: UN/JC Mcllwaine
The media often supplements talks of the Global South with illustrations of humanitarian tragedies and persistent development bottlenecks. However, this traditional news coverage overlooks a very positive and impactful transformation taking place in Africa and the Global South: the impressive growth in social protection systems, the establishment of new foundations for advancing sustainable development and for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Social protection programmes are among the most successful development experiences the world has seen in recent years. They have proven to be key in developing countries' efforts to fight poverty and hunger, as demonstrated by the substantial progress made in poverty reduction through the adoption and expansion of social protection schemes in countries such as Brazil, Ethiopia and Senegal. Making the transformation towards sustainable development by 2030 will require substantial changes in development practices. The steady increase in the number and quality of social protection systems throughout the Global South brings renewed hope and one of the most positive changes the world has witnessed in recent decades. In Africa, 48 countries have established flagship programmes, with more than 120 different initiatives being implemented. Seizing this positive change as a catalytic force to advance sustainable development is a must. As an … Read more

A legacy of private sector engagement in Africa

21 Jun 2016 by Tomas Sales, Special Advisor, Private Sector & African Facility for Inclusive Markets Unit, UNDP and Pascale Bonzom, Programme Specialist, Private Sector Unit, UNDP

More than 11,000 smallholder farmers benefit from support to develop regional agro-food value chains. Photo: UNDP
In the last 12 years, UNDP in Africa has invested into innovative programmes that produced encouraging results, incentives, and insights on how the private sector can contribute to inclusive growth through inclusive businesses and markets. UNDP’s long term goal in this area is to foster Africa’s capacity to produce and grow in line with the African Union Agenda 2063 and the universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UNDP Growing Sustainable Business (GSB) initiative built, from 2003 to 2011, multi-stakeholder partnerships to support businesses with a clear triple bottom line capable of impacting positively on profit, people and planet. Bionexx, for instance, a company based in Madagascar, managed to grow the production of artemisinin, a key ingredient in anti-malaria pills, from 0 to 12 metric tons using an outgrower network of close to 10,000 farmers through financial support and technical assistance to set-up the outgrower scheme – a clear success in terms of providing a guaranteed higher value market to smallholder farmers and increasing their income. GSB grew from a few pilots in Africa to established programmes in over 15 countries across four continents. In 2010, there were over 50 projects in the GSB global portfolio distributed among seven sectors. GSB has … Read more

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