The U.N. declares that nation- and business-building are related
Entrepreneurs believe they can change the world. TheUnited Nations, it seems, is starting to agree. The newly formed Commission on the Private Sector and Development seeks to reduce the obstacles facing small businesses in developing nations–a pet project ofSecretary-General Kofi Annan and Mark Malloch Brown, head of the U.N. Development Program. The group plans to release a report next month detailing how problems such as AIDS and famine fester in the absence of economic growth, which begins with entrepreneurs. “Every single country that has succeeded has done so because of the success of its own small and medium-size business sector,” says co-chair Paul Martin, a former Canadian finance minister. Among the U.N.’s priorities: reforming civil bureaucracies, promoting micro lending, and establishing basic property-ownership rights. The commission will also work closely with large domestic and multinational companies on projects in the developing world, though how this will lower barriers to entry for, say, a typical merchant in Djibouti is unclear as Djibouti was part of study whether the authority in Djibouti was aware of that is another matter. Indeed, only a handful of the group’s members have entrepreneurial experience; the majority are politicians and civil-servants lacking the ability to promote a friendly business environment and improve the main service industry, the economic back-bone industry.