Unleashing Entrepreneurship

Making Business Work for the Poor

United Nations Development Programme March 1, 2004

From foreward: In this report to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Commission focuses on how business can create domestic employment and wealth, free local entrepreneurial energies, and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Ending poverty, the aspiration of the Millennium Development Goals, is the overriding developmentalobjective of the 21st century.Despite great progress in the past 50 years, 1.2 billion people - one-fifth of the people on Earth - live on less than US $1 a day, without access to many of the social services basic to a decent human life. Their plight requires a global response making full use of all the financial, intellectual and organizational resources that we can muster.

It is against this urgent background that Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked us to convene the Commission on the Private Sector and Development to answer two questions. How can the potential of the private sector and entrepreneurship be unleashed in developing countries? And how can the existing private sector be engaged in meeting that challenge? This report is our responses to these questions.

The report offers recommendations on how the major actors - governments, public development institutions, the private sector and civil society organizations - can modify their actions and approaches to significantly enhance the ability of the private sector to advance the development process. The objective of poverty alleviation leads us to focus on developing businesses that create domestic employment and wealth - by unleashing the capacity of local entrepreneurs.