Half of the world population still lives on 5.5 dollars a day. And even a job is no guarantee of escaping poverty. Economic growth is essential for sustainable development, opening up the benefits of progress to all members of society and reducing inequalities. This defines Sustainable Development Goal 8. To ensure sustainable economic growth, societies need to create conditions for people to have quality jobs that stimulate economic development without harming the environment.
The foundation of economic growth in any country is defined by equal opportunities for women and men to get a decent job. Today women are less likely than men to take part in the labour force. They are more likely to have unattractive jobs which are insecure and poorly paid. Therefore, through the Aid for Trade project, UNDP is supporting female entrepreneurs.
"Recognizing the important role of women in driving the country’s economic development, one of the aims of our project is to assist in the creation and/or expansion of women-led businesses or businesses that would generate decent jobs for women from the regions of Kyrgyzstan. Throughout the course of the project, we have been supporting various initiatives related to women empowerment, including the Women's Entrepreneurship Day, mentoring programs for women in business, as well as an initiative on affordable finance for women entrepreneurs. Through these programs, more than 10 000 women have been empowered."
Aisuluu Mambetkazieva, UNDP project coordinator
The long-term economic development of Central Asia depends on participating in global value chains and shifting to higher value-added activities. That is, when more people get involved and contribute to the growth of their country, the whole economy benefits. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are crucial for achieving SDG 8 and other SDGs. They account for the bulk of all private sector enterprises in most countries. And Kyrgyzstan is no exception here. They tend to be a major source of income for the poorest, especially in rural areas, and employ a large share of the labour force in vulnerable sectors.
"With the view to helping Kyrgyz MSMEs, particularly from rural areas, participate in global trade, the project has identified three green value chains that have significant export potential: tourism, honey, and dried fruits and nuts. The support is provided to all actors in the value chain – producers/farmers, processors, and exporters. It entails intensive capacity building, provision of grants, establishment of mechnisms that facilitate access to production equipment, participation in international trade fairs/exhibitions and business matching activities.”
Aisuluu Mambetkazieva, UNDP Project Coordinator
Poverty eradication is only possible if there are stable and well-paid jobs. A large part of Kyrgyzstan's population lives below the poverty line, earning less than USD 5 per day. Globally, between 2016 and 2030, 470 million jobs will need to be created just to cover the growth of the working-age population worldwide, or about 30 million new jobs each year. This is why SDG 8 is crucial.
What can each of us do?
Gain financial skills for family life
Demand safe working conditions
Ensure the goods we buy were produced without exploitation
Support local businesses at home and abroad
And finally, protect the rights of others in the workplace.
Global problems begin to be solved with one person's decision. Each of us can contribute to achieving SDG 8. The UNDP project "Aid for Trade in Central Asia" pursues the same goal. To date, the project has created more than 1,600 jobs, supported export contracts worth over $72 million, and empowered more than 100,000 SMEs.
This article was developed as part of the UNDP National SDG Acceleration Support Platform project.