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Trade, aid and development

9 July 2013

This week, I’ve been representing SABMiller at the WTO’s Fourth Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva. The objective of the event is to look at how Aid for Trade flows can help firms in developing countries join up to and add value to global production chains – recognizing the role that business can play in development. This is a principle with which we agree strongly - almost three-quarters of our global revenues are generated in emerging markets, so we have an interest in their social and economic development. And we firmly believe that business has an important role to play in ending poverty, providing access to services such as clean water and promoting gender equality.

Whilst we seek to build businesses and value chains which drive economic growth and stimulate social development, there are some specific barriers to growth, such as lack of infrastructure and constraints to trade, where government intervention is essential to unlock economic potential.

One of the aims of the Fourth Global Review of Aid for Trade is to look at how development assistance can help developing and least-developed countries to build inclusive value chains which deliver effective and lasting social and economic development.

The high level meeting is an opportunity for international organisations, the private sector, governments, civil society and academia to discuss the changing nature of value chains and how developing countries, especially the least developed, can participate in global production chains, including at the added-value level, in order to gain the most benefit from them.

I took part in two panel sessions. In the first, called Value Chains – Adding Value for Development? we were able to demonstrate  the impact of our investment in local supply chains, supporting our operations in Africa.

The second session was on Connecting African Agribusiness to local, regional and global value chains and we talked about our work with partners and farmers to develop new cassava supply chains in the production of new beers in Mozambique and Ghana.

Our involvement has given us a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of some of the important work we are doing with farmers and others in Africa and to demonstrate brewers as a force for good in the societies where we operate.

In addition to the formal panel sessions, along with the other brewers and the Worldwide Brewing Alliance, we hosted a reception for attendees at the Global Review. Delegates from OECD, World Bank, IMF, regional development banks,  government officials and ministers attended – a great opportunity to speak to key stakeholders about beer and brewers – and let them try some of our great beers.


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