Addressing Global Poverty
Poverty is a complex global issue that affects millions of people around the world. Despite ongoing efforts towards addressing global poverty, a large portion of the population could still be living in extreme poverty by 2030. The fact that inequality within countries has either increased or remained unchanged, leading to more global inequality, has compounded this situation.

Global Poverty Crisis

As of 2015, 736 million people still face poverty, with 10% of the world’s population living in extreme poverty and 1.3 billion people experiencing multidimensional poverty. The impact of poverty has been devastating on the health and education of the poorest individuals. It is essential to keep working towards reducing poverty and promoting equality globally to improve the lives of those affected.

The global poverty crisis is a daunting challenge that requires the collective effort of individuals, businesses and governments to solve. American businesses have a unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of millions of people around the world by taking practical steps to address global poverty. From providing job opportunities to donating resources and funds, there are many ways businesses can help fight poverty. American businesses can invest in companies and projects that promote sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. This can include investing in startups and small businesses that are working to create jobs and lift people out of poverty.

Responsible Investments

Responsible investment is one-way businesses can contribute to addressing global poverty, such as through the impact investment fund Root Capital. Root Capital has invested more than $1 billion in more than 700 businesses, helping more than 1.5 million people. Its work has enabled agricultural businesses to create jobs, incomes and choices for more than 2.4 million rural families.

Another example of responsible investment is Coca-Cola’s 5by20 initiative, which aims to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2020. The initiative has provided resources, financing and training to more than 6 million women around the world.

Poverty Reduction Efforts Through Philanthropy

Several American businesses have made significant contributions to poverty reduction efforts through philanthropy. One notable example is Microsoft, which has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations such as The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Global Fund is a partnership between governments, civil society and the private sector. It aims to accelerate the end of the three diseases by investing in prevention, treatment and care.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with the United Nations Foundation’s [email protected] program, which provides access to life-saving vaccines for children in developing countries. The program has helped to vaccinate millions of children against preventable diseases such as measles, pneumonia and polio.

The foundation has also donated billions of dollars toward health, education and development initiatives. Its Global Health Division has helped reduce the burden of diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, saving millions of lives in the process.

Takeda Pharmaceutical is another company that partnered with the [email protected] program to “expand children’s access to life-saving measles vaccines in approximately 40 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.” Through this support, Takeda Pharmaceutical aims to help vaccinate millions of children by 2026, making a major contribution to reducing the prevalence of preventable diseases.

The Walmart Foundation is taking significant steps to address global poverty through philanthropy, committing to strengthening farmer-producer organizations in Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, India. This two-year project will provide farmers with training and capacity-building activities with a focus on improving their proficiency in sales, marketing and production techniques. This will help the farmers improve the quality and quantity of their output and ultimately increase their income.

Using Advocacy to Address Global Poverty

Advocacy is another important way that American businesses could contribute to addressing global poverty. By using their influence, businesses can call for systemic changes that address economic injustice and inequality, support initiatives that provide access to education and health care and lobby for government support for poverty-reduction initiatives.

One example of a business using advocacy to address poverty is Microsoft. The company has called on governments to invest in initiatives that provide access to technology to all citizens, regardless of socio-economic status.

Microsoft has also advocated for increased access to financial services for disadvantaged communities, recognizing that access to credit and financial resources are critical to economic growth and development. Through its advocacy efforts, Microsoft is promoting more equitable access to technology and finance, which can help to reduce poverty and promote economic development.

It has also promoted digital inclusion and access to technology through its Airband Initiative, which aims to expand internet access in underserved communities worldwide.

Bluetown, a company specializing in deploying last-mile technologies to expand rural access to high-speed internet and promote economic opportunities, has partnered with Microsoft’s Airband Initiative to accelerate connectivity projects in Ghana. The current internet penetration rate stands at only 32.5% in Ghana. To bridge this digital divide and promote economic development in these underserved communities, Bluetown and Microsoft are aiming to bring internet access to nearly 2 million people. This partnership demonstrates how innovative technology solutions and collaborative partnerships can make a meaningful and substantial difference.

Enhancing Customer Relations

Investing in addressing global poverty, not only promotes corporate social responsibility but also enhances customer relations. Companies that take steps towards reducing poverty can earn the support and loyalty of customers who appreciate their efforts. Furthermore, businesses can benefit from reduced costs and increased profits by investing in poverty reduction initiatives, leading to improved public opinion and financial gains.

Addressing global poverty also improves the quality of life for people in developing countries, including access to education, health care and other essential services, leading to better health and increased opportunities. This creates a more favorable business environment and attracts foreign investment.

In conclusion, addressing global poverty is a win-win situation for American businesses. By actively participating in poverty reduction efforts through responsible investment, philanthropy and advocacy, American businesses can create new markets, increase economic stability and improve the quality of life for people in developing countries. This leads to long-term sustainable economic growth for American businesses and a brighter future for all.

– Nkechi First
Photo: Flickr