Pro-poor initiative to boost job creation in Africa

06 May 2011

Cape Town, South Africa – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today launched a new initiative to boost job creation through pro-poor business development that engages low-income people in Africa as customers, employees, producers or entrepreneurs.

The African Facility for Inclusive Markets (AFIM) opens the way for several thousands of small and medium scale enterprises in agriculture, industry and the distribution sector targeting women and young people in rural areas.

“A new private sector is emerging in Africa with great potential for creating new jobs, income opportunities and products and services for all,” said Aeneas Chuma, UNDP Special Representative for AFIM and UN Resident Coordinator for Kenya, launching the initiative at the World Economic Forum for Africa 2011, taking place 4-6 May in Cape Town, South Africa.

Through its offices in Johannesburg, Dakar and Nairobi, AFIM will focus on markets, products or services with the largest potential for job and income creation benefiting those on low incomes. Those sectors include agriculture, food, tourism, mining and retail.

About 73 percent of Sub-Saharan Africans (almost 560 million people) live on less than US$2 per day, according to the World Bank.

The initiative will build on knowledge sharing and best practices from regional and national private sector initiatives in more than 12 African countries, including Angola, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi.

As a partnership-based initiative, it will bring together the private sector, and regional and international development agencies into an alliance for pro-poor markets focused on environmental sustainability and post-conflict recovery.

AFIM’s work will be modeled on similar initiatives, such as the Business Call to Action - a global partnership comprising UNDP and seven other international and donor organizations - that challenges businesses to strive for commercial success while contributing to poverty reduction.

“The African Facility for Inclusive Markets is a great opportunity to broker partnerships and dialogues between businesses, governments, regional organizations and other development partners for sustainable and pro-poor markets,” said Chuma.

About BCtA: The Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—eight international development goals which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education by the target date of 2015 — by challenging companies to develop innovative business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. These types of business models are often described as “pro-poor” or “inclusive”, in that they seek to profitably engage low-income populations across company value chains, and meet the needs of these populations through the development of appropriate and affordable products and services.

Contact Information

UNDP Regional Service Centre:

Tomas Sales: tomas.sales@undp.org

Juergen Nagler: juergen.nagler@undp.org

Maureen Mundea: maureen.mundea@undp.org

Phone: 27 11 603 5104
Fax: 27 11 603 5049