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Private sector can play key role in SDG agenda, asserts Lankan economist at Oxford seminar

24 June 2016 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The private sector in the global south can play a key role in achieving the new global development goals, argued a Sri Lankan economist at an international seminar recently. 


Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist Anushka Wijesinha spoke at the annual seminar on ‘Advancing Good Governance in International Development’ held in Oxford, United Kingdom. 


Speaking in the seminar’s opening plenary session, Wijesinha observed that across the region, the private sector is much more interested in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda than the earlier Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda, recognizing that dealing with SDG issues matter for business now more than ever before.


He remarked, “Savvy businesses recognise that they have a key role to play – not just for feel good, cosmetic, CSR reasons, but because it matters for the economy and prosperity as a whole, and that has an impact on business.”


He also cited the interest among the Sri Lankan corporates at UNDP’s Foresight and Innovation for SDGs held in Colombo last month.  The opening session, which focussed specifically on SDG Goal 16, also included incisive discussions of governance and institutions for development. Wijesinha noted that, the increasingly the private sector in Sri Lanka cares about institutional quality and governance, recognizing that without these growth won’t be sustainable or of good quality. 


“Especially for countries like ours in the middle-income transition, we need better quality institutions for better quality growth. Poor governance and low trust institutions are no longer fit for purpose. That’s why many of our business and businesses leaders are interested in this. But often we find that businesses are unsure of how to tackle this alone, but are keen to work with others and be part of credible coalitions.”


The seminar, held at the prestigious Rhodes House, is organised annually by Linklaters LLP law firm, Camfed International, Oxford UniversitySaïd Business School, and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, and brings together thought leaders and practitioners from the academic, donor, microfinance, NGO, social entrepreneurial, government and private sector communities. 

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