Magdy Martinez-Soliman: Remarks at the MoU signing between UNDP and Netherlands senior experts (PUM)

I thank Ambassador H.E. Mr. Karel van Oosterom for the opening remarks.

I would like to first start by thanking Thea Fierens for her leadership in driving this partnership forward together with Cihan Sultanoglu, Director of UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States and Haoliang Xu, UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.

It is a great pleasure to be here today to sign the cooperation agreement between UNDP and PUM.

The Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without private sector contribution. On average, the private sector accounts for sixty per cent of GDP, eighty per cent of capital flows, and ninety per cent of jobs in developing countries. How the private sector actually does business has a major impact on whether growth and development are inclusive and sustainable.

Good jobs are central to ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. However, over two billion people of working age are not participating in the labor force. Most of these are women. Among those who do participate, around 200 million people are unemployed, including 75 million youth under the age of 25. Furthermore, 600 million jobs are needed in the next 15 years to absorb a growing global workforce, mainly in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. That is roughly the same as the population of whole of the Latin America and the Caribbean today.

In emerging markets, most formal jobs are with SMEs, which also create 4 out of 5 new positions. Formal SMEs contribute up to 45 percent of total employment and up to 33 percent of national income (GDP) in emerging economies. These numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are included.

Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development means going beyond business as usual. Sustainable development requires a range of new partnerships, knowledge exchange and new ways of working together.

Governments, multilateral and bilateral development agencies, financial and regional development institutions, the private sector, civil society, trade unions and philanthropic organizations came together in Nairobi last week to take stock of the implementation of development effectiveness principles and commitments and to shape how existing and new development actors can partner effectively to implement and realize the 2030 Agenda.

They recognized the progress made while also noting that progress has been slow and uneven, with poverty and inequality levels remaining high especially in Africa, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small-island developing states, and middle income countries. Unemployment and underemployment and non-resilient livelihoods, especially for youth and women, are among the areas that need our full focus, commitment and joint efforts.

The Declaration also recognized the importance of capacity development so that the private sector players in recipient countries can be part of local and international value chains and access markets.

This is fully aligned with the partnership we are starting with PUM. It aims at exploring opportunities to:

develop joint training programs advancing entrepreneurship and technical skills;

provide technical support and build the capacity of small and medium sized enterprises in developing countries to link to value chains in agriculture sector and manufacturing sectors; and

share best practices.

The partnership will focus on results at the country level. UNDP and PUM have already explored collaboration opportunities through UNDP country offices in Haiti, Sierra Leone, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Rwanda and Central Asia.

The significance of the SME sector in these countries is notable, for example, in Rwanda, the SME sector, including formal and informal businesses, comprises 98 percent of the businesses and 41 percent of all private sector employment. In Sierra Leone, SMEs provide livelihood for about 70 percent of the population. The discussions include cooperation on the Sierra Leone Youth Programme, supporting incubators of start-ups and taking a special approach regarding young mechanics.

We trust that signing this MoU will open new opportunities and drive positive change, supporting countries and country-led mechanisms for implementation of the SDGs, using development cooperation as a great enabler of sustainable gains at national and regional levels, in a way that improves the lives of the poorest and fosters a healthy environment.

Tapping into UNDP's wide network of offices and 50 years of development expertise and many years of expertise from entrepreneurs and experts through PUM, as well as each organization's partner networks will enable us to deliver impact at scale to advance inclusive and sustainable economic growth, productive employment, education and innovation.

With these words, I would like to give the floor to Johan vd Gronden, the CEO of PUM.

Source : United Nations Development Programme

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