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Ideas for a fairer world

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Summary note 1- Investing in women's economic resilience & social wellbeing

By Foreign Policy Centre.

Part of the 'Africa Rising? Building Africa's Productive Capacity for Inclusive Growth' series

In a series of Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) roundtable discussions - supported by Nestlé - the FPC seeks to explore how business can play a more constructive role in building resilience to improve women's economic and social wellbeing across Africa. The proposed series of roundtable discussions come at a time when global development priorities are being reshaped and redefined in the wake of a post-2015 UN Millennium Development Goals' agenda. In addition, 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. This resolution promotes the importance of women in building peace and security in states affected by conflict. All this is coupled with the fact that the global economic recovery remains fragile. Existing inequality and insecurity disproportionately affects women, and has been compounded by the unprecedented global economic crisis, on-going austerity and mounting uncertainty. These conditions present very real challenges for public spending dedicated to development. As such, understanding the development transformation role played by business and enterprise has become increasingly important.

This summary note reflects the discussions which took place at the opening session which aimed to explore the opportunities and challenges of private sector development in transforming the lives, livelihoods and enterprise of women across Africa.

How does private sector development support structural transformation and enhance sustainable development outcomes? This might range from wealth and investment creation to employment-led growth. Private sector development might also drive innovation and technological development to building essential infrastructure. Furthermore, business and enterprise can also support entrepreneurship, help improve the quality of work and provide much needed increases in labour productivity.

How can sustainable business support, strengthen and champion its impact on women's resilience and wellbeing? In addition, how might governments, in partnership with civil society, provide support to facilitate and influence the development impact of business on women? By examining the transformative effect of business on women's lives, livelihoods and wellbeing, the event series aims to explore a number of key themes including:

  • Female entrepreneurship, employment and agricultural development: Promoting food and nutritional security by improving support to women producers.
  • Bridging the gap between science, technology and innovation for development transformation in Africa: Tackling development dilemmas in agriculture (e.g. food and livestock security) and the environment (e.g. biodiversity and forestry). What works, what doesn't and how can success be appropriately scaled-up and replicated?
  • Women and environmental resource management: Adapting to a changing environment and balancing conservation and consumption in an age of scarcity and uncertainty.

The event series is scheduled to take place across in 2014/15. Following the roundtable discussion series, the FPC will produce a report (to be launched in 2015/16) which will build on the discussions and insights exchanged during the course of the event series. The report will capture the salient issues discussed and key findings identified. This event forms part of a wider Foreign Policy Centre series entitled: Africa Rising? Building Africa's Productive Capacity for Inclusive Growth. Additional project supporters include Barclays and CDC Group.

Download Summary note 1-Women's economic resilience &social wellbeing (130 kilobyte PDF)