ECR: Private sector needed to end poverty

EPA/NIC BOTHMA

A South African boy arrives home from school in the impoverished shack settlement of Masiphumelele, Cape Town, South Africa.

ECR: Private sector needed to end poverty


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Ahead of the EU-Africa Summit next week ECR MEPs have called for the private sector to take a leading role in the EU’s development policy.

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in the European Parliament called on the private sector to take a leading role in the European Union’s development policy.

Speaking ahead of next week’s EU-Africa Summit, ECR Development spokesman Nirj Deva MEP said: “We need to empower people to lift themselves out of poverty. Aid alone cannot do this and taxpayers cannot afford fill the funding gap needed to reach the UN’s development goals when our own schools, hospitals and infrastructure require investment. Instead, we must use public money to leverage private investment if we are to reduce poverty.”

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals face a funding gap of $2.5 trillion despite the $1.4 trillion already spent globally on foreign aid. The ECR Group believes that by using public money to leverage private investment, this funding gap could be reduced and the strain on the taxpayer reduced.

The ECR’s new approach was adopted recently and the new European Fund for Sustainable Development will guarantee public-private partnerships. Applications for the first grants will be opened at the EU-Africa Summit next week.

Deva explained: “I am pleased that the ECR’s work promoting the potential of public-private partnerships has paid off. Ahead of the EU-Africa Summit next week we’ve been looking at how private sector and financial markets can play an important role in development.”

According to ECR co-Chairman Syed Kamall MEP, aid isn’t enough to end poverty and risks fostering a culture of dependency rather than innovation, business and empowered communities. “Policymakers, development specialists, politicians and NGOs increasingly recognise that we must work with the private sector if we are to help the remaining 767m people out of extreme poverty,” he said.

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