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Foreign Policy Centre

Ideas for a fairer world


Employment, enterprise and skills: Building business infrastructure for African development

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supported by CDC Group

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

The current global financial crisis has led to an economic age of unprecedented austerity, mounting uncertainty and rising inequality. Today, there is a pressing need to forge a new global consensus on how best to build Africa's productive capacity. In essence: supporting the continent to develop and employ its productive resources, harness and grow its entrepreneurial capabilities and build robust and dynamic networks and linkages essential for supporting the production of goods and services to power national and regional economies. In order to move beyond the Millennium Development Goals, no longer can addressing the multiple challenges of how to promote development transformation, cultivate entrepreneurship and drive employment-led growth continue to be considered in isolation. How can the physical, social and human capital needed to expand business and enterprise development in the formal sector be promoted? How might access to, as well as the distribution of appropriate business education, skills and training across Africa be improved, replicated and scaled-up?

Mounting global concerns about inclusive growth are illustrated by the World Bank's 2013 World Development Report, focused on jobs and the G20 development agenda's training strategy explored developing employment related skills. Yet, there are a number of issues which need to be considered. How can national development strategies focus on job creation? How best can their impacts be measured and scaled-up? Beyond micro-enterprise, how best can entrepreneurship be developed and fostered within and beyond national borders? Which investment and trade sectors have the greatest development impact potential, particularly with respect to creating professional employment for young people and women? How best can such sectors be developed and supported? What type of investments are required in education, training and skills development to enhance business infrastructure, expand networks and build the innovations required to transform long term employment prospects?

FPC Event Series

At a series of two roundtable discussions in 2013/14, the Foreign Policy Centre seeks to explore and develop a more informed and evidence-based understanding of the important links shared between employment promotion, business enterprise development and expanding entrepreneurial training and education to build job-related skills. The first roundtable discussion aims to provide a broad overview of employment-led growth. It will attempt to explore and identify which sectors maximise development impact through the creation of decent jobs with good prospects across the formal sector. Essentially, what works, what doesn't and how might success be appropriately replicated and scaled-up? The second roundtable will aim to address how to drive the expansion in employment and the development of entrepreneurship among young people and women. This event will adopt a strong focus on: education, training and skills development by identify issues, developing practical responses and recommend action for change. The event series could also help develop more coherent and effective policy responses to deliver improvements to the development of employment-led, business infrastructure in poor countries and regions. Following the roundtable discussion series, the FPC will produce a concise summary report that will build on the discussions and insights exchanged during the course of the event series, capturing the salient issues and key findings. The series is kindly supported by CDC, in association with Business Fights Poverty.

Should you have any queries about this event series, please feel free to contact the FPC on

Download the roundtable summary notes here:

Roundtable 1 summary notes

Roundtable 2 summary notes

Download 'Employment enterprise and skills' final report (870 kilobyte PDF)