The G20 leaders led the world in celebrating the 8 billion mark of the world’s human population on the 15th of November 2022 in Bali, Indonesia. This happened under the shadow of war and the post-Covid 19 pandemic.
It has taken close to eleven years to close the ranks of 7 billion to 8 million people and the drivers of the accelerated population growth are said to be the world’s poorest nations (Victor, 2022). What raises eyebrows are the questions which arise thereof; what are the causes of this poverty? Can the world sustain the 8 billion or more? What are institutions (Multilaterals), governments, Corporates and civil societies doing about it? Time and again several mitigating strategies against poverty have been put up by governments, multilateral agencies and even civil society but it seems that the world scarpers more to poverty. The World Bank (2022) notes that there is a continued reduction of extreme poverty at the global level. Between the years 2012 and 2015, global poverty fell by 2.8 percentage points (from 12.9-10.1percent) and by 1.5 percentage points in the period 2015-2018 (Aguilar, et al., 2022).
A myriad of corrective measures to the containment of this explosive population growth imagined as the mainstay of poverty have been put up in place, however, it is mainly just in principle by many stakeholders. With the exclusion of the public sector, the private sector in the fields of water, sanitation, food and health industries has one of the biggest roles and opportunities in eradicating and minimizing poverty. The complexity within which the private sector is set leaves little for poverty eradication and economic development, they play by a different set of rules hence the dereliction of avenues for participation in poverty eradication (Asian Development Bank, 2012). Some of the strategies and corrective measures would be for instance public-private partnerships, mandatory engagement in corporate social responsibility initiatives, deliberately focused community development initiatives and indulging in specific infrastructural development.
The capacity of many private sector entities in the advanced nations more than exceeds the economies of several poor nations. That fact notwithstanding, the same business entities would still do business in poor countries. For instance, Ramasamy and Yeung (2022) are of the opinion that some organisations in developed and developing economies have invested in poor economies in order to exploit cheap labour, abundant natural resources and poor-quality and ineffective institutional commitments. Yusuf and Omoteso (2022) suggest that there is a necessity to combine and possibly contrast business ethical responsibility and responsiveness, their contribution to the common good with the overall business profits. On the other side, it is proposed that organisations’ performance should not be restricted to financial performance and the repatriation of dividends alone, non-financial performance should be emphasised and especially in terms of societal impact on poverty reduction.
Protagonists of the open market would argue that it is all about demand and supply, however, the writer of this knowledge update feels that corporate entities need to have a humane face. In their research, Sapena, Almenar, Apetrei, Escrivá and Gil (2018) concluded that when corporates create employment opportunities and lessen income inequalities it automatically leads to poverty eradication.
In conclusion, though poverty has been counted as one of the reasons for the unfettered population explosion, its reduction should not be the prerogative of the public sector alone. The private sector should equally take this gargantuan role of poverty reduction on its wake.
Aguilar, R. A., Eilertsen, A., Fujs, T., Lakner, C., Mahler, D. G., & Nguyen, M. C. (2022, 11 15). Data Blogs. Retrieved from World Bank Blogs: https://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/april-2022-global-poverty-update-world-bank
Asian Development Bank. (2012). Profits and Poverty: How the Private Sector is Helping to Change the Fortunes of the Poor. Manila: Asian Development Bank.
Ramasamy, B., & Yeung, M. (2022). China's outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) to developing countries: The case of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, 27(1), 124-146.
Sapena, J., Almenar, V., Apetrei, A., Escrivá, M., & Gil, M. (2018). Some reflections on poverty eradication, true development and sustainability within CST. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, (), S2444569X18300052–. doi:10.1016/j.jik.2017.
Victor, D. (2022). World Population Reaches 8 Billion, U.N. Says. New York: New York Times.
World Bank. (2022, 11 16). Poverty and Inequality Platform. Retrieved from The World Bank Web site: https://pip.worldbank.org/home
Yusuf, H. O., & Omoteso, K. (2022). Access to Medicine in Developing Countries: Elevating State Obligations Over Corporate Profit. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 29(1), 131.