17 December 2012
As a company which makes around three quarters of its earnings in emerging markets, SABMiller has a strong interest in the future of development. Our success is inextricably linked to that of the economies and communities in which we operate and this gives us a keen appreciation of the role that the private sector can play in driving economic growth and supporting social development.
We firmly believe that good business plays a positive role in development by creating jobs, building inclusive local value chains, providing training and skills, developing products and services that people value and paying tax that contributes to funding public services. In his role as co-Chair of the UN’s High Level Panel on post-2015 development, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron describes
There is growing evidence that many companies are making progress, especially in developing countries, to align their core business functions with the needs of the societies where they operate. As a result of these efforts, firms are increasingly acknowledging that goals like ending poverty, providing access to services such as energy and clean water or promoting gender equality are not only important for operating in stable and thriving environments and managing risks, but pose significant opportunities for developing better markets for their products.
In this context, business is well-placed to identify opportunities and drive innovation; however many of the programmes and interventions which take place further along the value chain require a strong degree of collaboration and the formation of partnerships across the public and private sectors and civil society organisations.
For example, buying raw materials from local farmers is an increasingly important element of our sourcing approach; and when establishing new local agricultural supply chains, we seek to develop farmers’ agricultural skills, improving yields and encourage them to grow a variety of crops. But to do this effectively we rely on partners who have the necessary expertise and experience – organisations such as Farm Africa and IFDC (International Fertilizer Development Center). Their responsibility is to mobilise the smallholder farmers and create hubs of expertise, which support the development of the farmers’ skills and productivity.
These partnerships often rely on public sector funding through financing instruments like the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), pioneered by DfID (Department for International Development) – and are extremely effective vehicles for driving development.
In the future, we would like DfiD and its counterparts around the world to focus funding for agriculture and smallholder farmers on overall agricultural policy, governance, smallholder capacity and supporting the development of effective value chains, with a focus on working through public-private partnerships. This would help ensure markets for smallholder outputs, the capacity of smallholders to deliver to those markets, and an environment conducive to agricultural trade. All of these support ‘country ownership’ of development – facilitating lasting change from within developing countries; and if aid is delivered following these principles, it will be aligned with David Cameron's approach to delivering positive change for the poorest people.