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Vice president Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has identified women as key vehicles in expanding the frontiers of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
According to him, since SMEs play a key role in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the private sector must have confidence in women to transform economies.
“In Africa, nearly ninety percent of businesses are SMEs, with about twenty to twenty-five percent led by women. Yet, there is a huge gap in their ability to access capital,” Dr. Bawumia said at the High Level African Roundtable on mobilizing support and accelerating implementation of the SDGs on Tuesday.
“For me, SMEs and in particular women play a critical role in us achieving the SDGs. Great potentials exist for women-led businesses to employ more women and bring them into their supply chains.
“They’re looking to source their inputs from women, small scale farmers – and when you put more money into the hands of women, and when you give them that economic decision making power, that translates into benefits to their communities and to their households,” the former deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana stressed.
“The private sector must therefore be informed by this relevant need for gender diversity for the growth of SMEs. I will thus, urge the private sector to focus on how to invest in the economic potential of women, because that will impact heavily on the SDGs,” Dr. Bawumia stressed.
He has expressed optimism the SDG will help the private sector to “create opportunities for their investment.” He noted it is imperative for countries to work towards achieving the Goals in a bid to eradicate poverty.
According to him, the private sector stands to gain more because it will be the vehicle for development.
“First and foremost, it is important to note that the SDGs come with the objective to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all by 2030. The SDGs are also about how to make development environmentally sustainable, economically sustainable, as well as socially sustainable. Private businesses are also part of the overall ecosystem of the world economy and will therefore benefit if the SDGs are achieved,” Dr. Bawumia told the gathering.
He added: “Second, private businesses should see the SDGs as helping create opportunities for their investments. Meeting the SDGs requires multi-million dollars investments in new and innovative projects. Because of the continual decline of global growth and reduced overseas development assistance, the private sector will be a key driver to support infrastructure and other development projects.
“The World Bank Group is taking a similar approach and recently launched a new initiative that aims to raise trillions in development financing, including through partnerships with the private sector. Thus, with the SDGs, investments expected to go into the private sector will be huge.”
“The Business and Sustainable Development Commission which is a group of CEOs and civic leaders that were convened by the UN recently put out a report identifying twelve trillion dollars of opportunities that can be created through achieving the SDGs. That is an extraordinary amount of money, an extraordinary amount of opportunity for businesses around the world. This highlights clearly what the opportunities for the private sector as well as, the SDGs are concerned,” he added.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
These 17 goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected, often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.
The SDGs work in the spirit of partnership and pragmatism to make the right choices now to improve life, in a sustainable way, for future generations. They provide clear guidelines and targets for all countries to adopt in accordance with their own priorities and the environmental challenges of the world at large. The SDGs are an inclusive agenda. They tackle the root causes of poverty and unite us together to make a positive change for both people and planet.