Resources available online

All the below resources are relevant to virtuous business.

As it is rather a long list, we have divided it into sections. Selected online resources by Transforming Business' Peter Heslam feature at the end of the 'General' section below.

The resources we feature express the views of their authors and editors, not necessarily those of Transforming Business.

General

Understanding entrepreneurship
A new report entitled Understanding Entrepreneurship has been produced by the Kaufman Foundation. Subtitled 'A Research and Policy Report', it reports on theories, applications and policies, focusing chiefly on the US. Some of the leading researchers in the field of entrepreneurship are contributors to the report.

The document is available online here.

The Kauffman Foundation, already a major sponsor of research on entrepreneurship, has announced a new release of its Entrepreneurship Research Portal - a clearinghouse for multi-disciplinary research on entrepreneurship. It also provides events listings and data sets targeted to the entrepreneurship research and policy community.

The Entrepreneurship Research Portal can be visited by clicking here.


Opportunities at the bottom of the pyramid
Business leaders are becoming increasingly aware that contributing to development can create profitable new business opportunities. Per capita income is rising in the developing world, opening up vast markets at the 'bottom of the pyramid'.

The World Bank Institute is the capacity development arm of the World Bank. It aims to help countries share and apply global and local knowledge to meet the challenges of development. To this end, it has published a report entitled Business Action for the MGDs: Private Sector Involvement as a Vital Factor in Achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The report is available here.


Making entrepreneurship work in South Africa
Making entrepreneurship effective in alleviating poverty in South Africa is not about government spending money on new programmes designed to create more entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. The key is creating a conducive environment by removing the barriers to entrepreneurship and to the operations of small businesses.

Thus argues Susan Anderson, fellow of the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, in a short article for the Free Market Foundation for South Africa.

Read the full article here.

To read a new report by Enterprise Africa! on the potential of the taxi industry in alleviating poverty in South Africa, click here.


Reducing poverty through growth
How can economic growth help to reduce poverty? This was the question addressed by the World Bank's Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) Conference on 25 and 26 April 2006 in Washington on 'Microeconomic and Institutional Foundations of Growth'.

A distinguished panel addressed the theme 'Moving Out of Poverty Traps: From Vicious to Virtuous Poverty Circles.' More information and an online video recording, can be found here.


Opinion survey on business in development
The results of a survey of global opinion leaders in business, civil society and the media on the role of business in international development have been jointly published by the Kennedy School of Government (Harvard), the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum and Edelman.

The survey found that leaders in all three sectors are agreed that business has a central role to play in development, chiefly in the creation of jobs and building local businesses. The report is entitled Business and International Development: Opportunities, Responsibilities and Expectations, available here.


Jeffrey Sachs
The voice of Jeffrey Sachs is rapidly becoming one of the most influential in the area of international economic development, but his views are by no means beyond critique.

Professor Sachs is Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. His book The End of Poverty is being vigorously discussed at the highest levels of government and economics the world over (see the books section of this Enterprise Excellence, the project's ezine, which features this book).

As Director of the UN's Millennium Project, Sachs has overall responsibility for the report Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Download here.

You don't have to be a student at Columbia to witness Sachs in action. The internet offers a selection of video and audio recordings made of his lectures. Simply scroll to the bottom of this web page.


Globalization's potential
To read UK prime minister Tony Blair's address to the Labour Party Conference in September 2005, in which he challenged delegates to embrace globalization as both inevitable and as a development full of potential, click here.


Business solutions to poverty
The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) recently held the KPMG Lecture on 'The UN Millennium Goals and the role for business'.

In fact it was more like two mini-lectures, one by the leading UK economist Professor John Kay and the other by Geoff Lye, Vice Chairman of SustainAbility Ltd.

Following their presentations, the two speakers held a lively and compelling engagement with each other and with the audience. To hear for yourself, click here.


Aid vs trade
On the back of the success of its publication Enterprise Solutions to Poverty (see Enterprise Excellence 1.2), the Shell Foundation has issued a related report: Aid Industry Reform and the Role of Enterprise. Click here to read it.

The author, Dr Kurt Hoffman (a Patron to Transforming Business), was involved in the development community, working closely with aid-based development NGOs, before becoming Director of the Shell Foundation.

He became disillusioned, however, with aid as a solution to poverty. The report reflects this background, pointing instead to enterprise as the only sustainable route out of poverty.


Unilever on business and development
Unilever have spelt out its perspective on the contribution of business to economic development. Antony Burgmans, chairman of Unilever, has called for greater emphasis on open economies. In his view, free trade is in the interest of all, because it leads to greater economic growth, and therefore to more wealth, jobs and prosperity. He fully supports the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which he sees as a key challenge for humanity at this point in its history.

Burgmans laid out his views in the fourth Jelle Zijlstra Lecture by Professor Tony Atkinson, at the Free University of Amsterdam. For a transcript of his speech, see here.

Burgmans' argument follows an earlier contribution to the debate about the role of business in development made by Hans Eenhoorn, former Senior Vice President of Unilever and member of the UN's Millennium Task Force on Hunger. His lecture on this issue, given at the Commonwealth Business Council conference at Chatham House, can be read here.


Business and the Millennium Development Goals
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has published Business for Development: Business Solutions in Support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This report makes the business case for sustainable development by illustrating how the private sector is taking an active role in the achievement of the MDGs.

Highlighting conducive social, legal and business frameworks as the most important factor affecting investment, the publication recommends that businesses invest in the development of strong regulatory and legal frameworks, building the capabilities of local enterprises, and improving core infrastructure.

At the end of the report is a useful spreadsheet recording how some leading multinationals are actively seeking to fulfil the various MDGs.

The report can be downloaded here.


The hidden wealth of the poor
The Economist has published an article on 'The Hidden Wealth of the Poor' which provides an overview and assessment of microfinance in the fight against poverty.

In describing the origins of microfinance, it highlights the key role played by Opportunity International, a faith-based organization. See The Economist of 03-11-05 or click here.


Support for business people
For an editorial in Christianity Today about how churches can be more supportive of business people, see here.


Understanding entrepreneurship
A new report entitled Understanding Entrepreneurship has been produced by the Kaufman Foundation. Subtitled 'A Research and Policy Report', it reports on theories, applications and policies, focusing chiefly on the US. Some of the leading researchers in the field of entrepreneurship are contributors to the report.

The document is available online here.

The Kauffman Foundation, already a major sponsor of research on entrepreneurship, has announced a new release of its Entrepreneurship Research Portal - a clearinghouse for multi-disciplinary research on entrepreneurship. It also provides events listings and data sets targeted to the entrepreneurship research and policy community.

The Entrepreneurship Research Portal can be visited by clicking here.


Opportunities at the bottom of the pyramid
Business leaders are becoming increasingly aware that contributing to development can create profitable new business opportunities. Per capita income is rising in the developing world, opening up vast markets at the 'bottom of the pyramid'.

The World Bank Institute is the capacity development arm of the World Bank. It aims to help countries share and apply global and local knowledge to meet the challenges of development. To this end, it has produced an excellent new report entitled Business Action for the MGDs: Private Sector Involvement as a Vital Factor in Achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The report is available here.


Making entrepreneurship work in South Africa
Making entrepreneurship effective in alleviating poverty in South Africa is not about government spending money on new programmes designed to create more entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. The key is creating a conducive environment by removing the barriers to entrepreneurship and to the operations of small businesses.

Thus argues Susan Anderson, fellow of the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, in a short article for the Free Market Foundation for South Africa.

Read the full article here.

To read a new report by Enterprise Africa! on the potential of the taxi industry in alleviating poverty in South Africa, click here.


Reducing poverty through growth
How can economic growth help to reduce poverty? This was the question addressed by the World Bank's Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) Conference on 25 and 26 April 2006 in Washington on 'Microeconomic and Institutional Foundations of Growth'.

A distinguished panel addressed the theme 'Moving Out of Poverty Traps: From Vicious to Virtuous Poverty Circles.' More information and an online video recording, can be found here.


Business and human rights
Dr John Ruggie, the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, has released an Interim Report on human rights and business. The report offers a useful overview of this issue and outlines the legal framework for identifying binding private sector responsibilities.

Click here for the report

A two-page response to the report by Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) can be found here.


Millennium Development Goals
Research shows that many business leaders are unfamiliar with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We list them here because they are mentioned several times on this page.

The eight Millennium Development Goals form a blueprint agreed to by all the world's countries and all the world's leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world's poorest people.

The goals are:

  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Develop a global partnership for development

The Commission on the Private Sector and Development of the United Nations has written a report on what is required to unleash the development potential of private entrepreneurship to drive growth, create jobs and lift incomes in developing countries. The report is available here. For a report by the UN on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the half-way stage between 2000 and 2015, click here.


The World Bank also has a vision for development through enterprise. See its paper on this issue here. For a brief discussion paper by the World Bank Institute on the role of the private sector in meeting the MDGs, click here.


The UK government's Department for International Development (DFID) has produced a report on the role of the private sector in eliminating poverty, available here.


The Sustainable Livelihoods Experience seeks to showcase best practice in the contribution business makes to creating wealth, opportunities and markets in developing countries. For a six minute video, click here.


Individual entrepreneurs and small firms are crucial to alleviating poverty in developing countries and recognition of this fact is growing. But entrepreneurial large firms also have a key role, not least in helping to provide the conditions in which small-scale entrepreneurship thrives and in actively encouraging local enterprise development. A report on this by the Prince of Wales' International Business Leaders Forum can be ordered here. The John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University also has a report on this issue, available here.


For reports on what specific contributions to development can be made by various sectors of industry (including mining, finance, food and beverage, utilities, ICT, tourism, health care), click here.


Anglo-American is one of the largest private sector investors and employers in Africa. To read about its commitment to the alleviation of poverty through the empowerment of private enterprise, click here.


Unilever, a major multinational corporation, and Oxfam, a large development and humanitarian organisation, have undertaken a joint investigation into the impact of the company's core operations on poor people in Indonesia. The joint report is available here.


The philanthropic activities of Shell, one of the world's most profitable companies, take place through the Shell Foundation. In an earlier edition of Enterprise Excellence we featured the Shell Foundation's report Enterprise Solutions to Poverty. That report argues that entrepreneurs in the developing world need to be put at the heart of poverty alleviation, rather than more aid and debt-relief. The Foundation has re-iterated this message in a recent publication entitled Down to Business. Both reports are available here.


The CEO of SABMiller has written a reflection here on the alleviation of poverty from a business perspective.


Fifty preeminent international leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors came together at the Aspen Institute for a roundtable entitled The Private Sector in the Fight against Global Poverty. The ensuing publication is available here. A report based on an earlier roundtable on America's Role in the Fight Against Global Poverty can be found here.


Business leaders are increasingly managing operations in developing countries. While this often exposes them to issues of poverty, they often do not know which development practitioners to turn to for assistance. A report entitled A Business Guide to Development Actors has been put together to help them. Its publication reflects a growing openness amongst NGOs towards the role of enterprise in human development.


How can companies contribute to economic development through their core business activities in ways that are both profitable and good for development? That is the central question addressed in a report drawn up by a business coalition entitled 'Doing Business with the World: The New Role of Corporate Leadership in Global Development', available here.


The alleviation of poverty is thekey challenge for business. But the formal business sector barely touches many of the world's poor, who have to rely on the informal sector for their material needs. The Prince of Wales' International Business Leaders' Forum has produced a report that addresses this situation. The Executive Summary and order details for the full report are here.


Four billion low-income consumers, the majority of the world's population, constitute the base of the economic pyramid (BoP). New empirical measures of their spending power suggest there are many business opportunities in serving their needs that have significant development potential. See the report by the International Finance Corporation and the World Resources Institute.

Two business


academics have written a on how profitable business and the creation of markets can be accomplished in contexts of deep poverty. They attempt to shift the focus away from whether to do BoP towards how to do BoP, from the perspective of corporate and competitive strategy. Click here for a link.


The BoP idea is controversial. Two notable critiques are:
'The Mirage of Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid: How the Private Sector Can Help Alleviate Poverty' by Aneel Karnani in California Management Review vol 49 no 4, Summer 2007, which can be ordered here.


'Poverty Reduction for Profit? A Critical Examination of Business Opportunities at the Bottom of the Pyramid' by Jean-Louis Warnholz, Queen Elizabeth House Library, University of Oxford, 2007, available here.


What positive impact can business have on the employment and enterprise prospects of young people within the Arab world? This is an important question for developing countries, which tend to have large numbers of economically disempowered young adults, who can become easy prey for extremist organizations. A sourcebook showcasing business-led employment initiatives in the Arab region is available here.


Business can also play a central and creative role in the socio-economic development of Eastern Europe. That is the conclusion of a report issued by the Prince of Wales' International Business Leaders' Forum, available here.


The Oxford economist Paul Collier has helped draw attention to the plight of the bottom billion of the world's poor in his recent book The Bottom Billion (reviewed in the Books section of this edition of Enterprise Excellence). The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, has made a speech declaring 2008 to be the year of the bottom billion. A business school in the Netherlands has received support from the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch banking giant ING Bank to produce A Billion to Gain? - a study of the involvement of global banks in the provision of microfinance in developing countries.


Economic growth has lifted millions out of poverty, particularly in Asia. Two billion people, however, are expected to be added to the world's population over the next couple of decades, most of them in low-income countries, meaning their governments need to implement policies that support pro-poor growth. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank provide assistance in this by way of their Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), which are available here. In addition, a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), a low-interest facility for low-income countries, has been developed by the IMF. PRGF-supported programmes are underpinned by comprehensive country-owned poverty reduction strategies. For a factsheet on PRGF, click here.


Two organizations that report on the level of economic freedom enjoyed by particular countries are:

  • Heritage Foundation. Its 2007 Index of Economic Freedom is available here.
  • Fraser Institute. Its Economic Freedom of the World: 2007 Annual Report is available here.

The fair trade movement and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are gaining momentum as western consumers become increasingly sensitive to ethical issues in business. But do they have any more than symbolic value? For a critical assessment of the fair trade movement, see a paper by Philip Booth and Linda Whetstone here. For a critique of CSR by Deborah Doane, click here.


Several recent editions of the journal Economic Affairs have focused on issues relevant to enterprise solutions to poverty. See, for instance, Vol 25, no 2; Vol 26, no 4; Vol 27, no 2; Vol 27, no 3. Subscriptions and back issues can be ordered here.


Online resources by Peter Heslam, the director of Transforming Business, that relate to the transformative role of business include the following:

  • 'Transformative Business', Spirit in Work, issue 3, Jan 2005. Briefly introduces Transforming Business at the launch of the project. Here.
  • 'George and the Chocolate Factory' - on the transformative potential of the chocolate industry. The articles recalls the work of George Cadbury and was sparked by the launch of the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sept 2005. Here.
  • 'The Corporation' - on the film The Corporation, which infuriated many business leaders because of its sheer negativity about big business. Peter Heslam used this opportunity to provoke a more fruitful discussion about the role of business in today's complex world. Connecting with Culture, Nov 2005. Here.
  • 'Standing up to Big Business' - on David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party in the UK, who claimed that as Prime Minister he would stand up to big business. Connecting with Culture, Jan 2006. Here.
  • 'Ending the History of Poverty', Spirit in Work, issue 6, March 2006. Here.
  • 'Prosperity Through Economic Empowerment', Faith in Business, vol 10.1 (Spring 2006). Here.
  • Review of John Ashcroft and Michael Schluter (eds) Jubilee Manifesto, Faith in Business, vol 10.1 (Spring 2006). Here.
  • 'Buffeting the Gates of Heaven: Can Philanthropy save the Poor, or only the Rich?', Faith in Business, vol 10.2 (Summer 2006). Here.
  • 'Enterprise Solutions to Climate Change', Spirit in Work, issue 7, July 2006. Here.
  • 'Musings of a Market Moralist' - an interview with Dr John Meadowcroft (Institute of Economic Affairs) about his book The Ethics of the Market (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2006), Enterprise Excellence, 2. Here.
  • 'A Convenient Truth' - a response both to Richard Branson's pledge to give Virgin profits to developing green technology and to An Inconvenient Truth, the film by Al Gore, Connecting with Culture, Sept 2006. Here.
  • 'Banking on the Poor: The Banker who is Changing the World, One Micro-Loan at a Time', Faith in Business, vol 10.3 (Autumn 2006). Here.
  • 'An Affluence for Good' - prompted by the decision by the Governor of the Bank of England to print an image of Adam Smith on new £20 notes, Connecting with Culture, Nov 2006. Here.
  • 'Doing Business with Purpose' - reflecting on the legacy of the Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman on the occasion of his death, Connecting with Culture, Nov 2006. Here.
  • 'Universal Affluence: Adam Smith's Radical Vision', Spirit in Work, issue 8, Dec 2006. Here.
  • 'William Wilberforce: How Transforming Business can Turn the Tide of History', Faith in Business, vol 10.4 (Winter 2006-07). Here.
  • 'Setting the Captives Free' - a reflection on the relationship between spirituality, enterprise and poverty alleviation, drawing on the vision of William Wilberforce, Connecting with Culture, March 2007. Here.
  • 'Entering the Circle of Exchange: Catholic Social Teaching and the Role of Business in the Eradication of Poverty', co-authored with Ben Andradi (CEO of Servita). Published on the website of the John Ryan Institute, University of St Thomas, Minnesota, USA. Here.
  • 'Can Christianity give a Positive Value to Wealth: An Engagement with the Early Church Fathers. Published on the Transforming Business website here.
  • 'Flirting with Corruption' - a discussion of the development implications of Paul Wolfowitz's admission that he showed favouritism towards an employee who was also his female companion, Connecting with Culture, April 2007. Here.
  • 'A Silent Revolution' - a reflection on the way in business is embracing social and environmental concerns as a strategic opportunity, Connecting with Culture, July 2007. Here.
  • 'The Emerging Wisdom-Based Economy', Spirit in Work, issue 9, July 2007. Here.
  • Anita Roddick - a tribute to Britain's most successful female entrepreneur, Connecting with Culture, Sept 2007. Here.
  • 'Tomorrow's Global Company: Rewarding Humility', Faith in Business, vol 11.1 (Sept 2007). Here.
  • 'Enterprise with Attitude: Anita Roddick, Great Dame of British Business, Faith in Business, vol 11.2 (November 2007). Here.
  • 'The Business of Peace: The Role of Commerce in Peace-Building', Faith in Business, vol 11.3 (Autumn 2007) Here.
  • 'Thrift as Solution to the Credit Crisis', Faith in Business, vol 12.1 (October 2008). Here.
  • 'Unleashing Entrepreneurship' - a reflection during Global Entrepreneurship Week on the role of entrepreneurship within the current economic malaise Connecting with Culture, Nov 2008. Here.
  • 'Creating Wealth to Build Peace' - prompted by the 2009 New Year message on peace through commerce by Pope Benedict XVI, Connecting with Culture, Jan 2009. Here.
  • 'Entrepreneurship: Spreading the Spirit of Enterprise', Faith in Business, vol 12.2 (January 2009). Here.
  • 'Magnanimity and Magnificence: Entepreneurial Responses to the Economic Crisis, Faith in Business Quarterly, vol 12.3 (May 2009). Here.
  • 'From eBay to Social Entrepreneurship' - on Jeff Skoll, the founder of eBay, Connecting with Culture, 27 March 2009. Here.
  • 'How I Caused the Credit Crunch', Connecting with Culture, 1 May 2009. Here.
    'Godly Globalization: Why do faith and business seem to go together like oil and water? New Wine magazine, Autumn 2009, pp. 42-43. Here.
  • 'The MBA Oath', Connecting with Culture, 2 October 2009. Here.
  • 'Getting Tough on Poverty: How pocket-sized solar panels and investments in agriculture are changing the fortunes of Africa', Faith in Business Quarterly, 12.4 (Dec 2009). Here.
  • 'Democracy is Changing', Connecting with Culture, 16 April 2010. Here.
  • Transforming Capitalism: Entrepreneurship and the Renewal of Thrift (Grove Books, 2010). At only 32 pages, this book is designed for busy people and is available either for download as an ebook (click here) or as a hard copy (click here). Both are priced at only £3.95.
  • 'Pioneers of Prosperity: Entrepreneurial role models as sources of hope and inspiration', Faith in Business Quarterly, 13.2 (2010).' Here.
  • 'Eradicating Poverty', Connecting with Culture, 8 Oct 2010. Posted here.
  • 'Boss Christians: Entrepreneurs in Asia's Spiritual and Economic Awakening, Faith in Business Quarterly, 13.3 (2010). Here.
  • 'The Genius of Savings Banks', Connecting with Culture, 7 Dec 2010). Posted here.
  • 'Savings on a Passage to India: From Debt to Equity in a Subprime World', Faith in Business Quarterly, 13.4 (2010). Here.
  • 'Happiness in Practical Wisdom', Connecting with Culture, 7 Jan 2011. Posted here.
  • 'Business for the Common Good'. A talk given to the Christian Association of Business Executives, 9 March 2011. A summary report, written by Michael Smith, posted here.
  • 'The Winter's Tale and an Arab Spring: Observations on the Middle East / North Africa (MENA) Uprisings, Faith in Business Quarterly, 14.1 (2011). Here.
  • 'People, Principles and Profits', Connecting with Culture, 10 June 2011. Posted here.
  • Co-authored letter to The Times newspaper in response to the anti-capitalist 'Occupy London'’ protests against outside St Paul’s Cathedral, 8 Nov 2011. Here.
  • 'Spiritual Check: The Economics of Good and Evil', Faith in Business Quarterly, 14.2 (2011). Here.
  • 'Belief in Enterprise: Christian Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy', Faith in Business Quarterly, 14.4 (2011). With Eric Wood, posted here.
  • 'Steve Jobs — iVisionary', Connecting with Culture, October 2011. Posted here.
  • 'Liberating Generosity', Connecting with Culture, May 2012. Posted here.
  • 'Going the Extra Mile: Globalising Generosity', Faith in Business Quarterly, 15.1 (2012). With Eric Wood, posted here.
  • 'Barclay's Apology', Connecting with Culture, July 2012. Posted here.
  • 'Business as Blessing', Faith in Business Quarterly, 15.2 (2012). With Eric Wood, posted here.
  • 'Pride of Africa: The Rise of the Lion Economies', Faith in Business Quarterly, 15.3 (2013). With Eric Wood, posted here.
  • 'Champion of the Poor', Connecting with Culture, March 2013, posted here.
  • 'Justin Welby: Archbishop for Financial Times', Faith in Business Quarterly, 15.4 (2013). With Ranjeet Guptara, posted here.
  • 'Of this and Other Worlds: C.S. Lewis on Business', Faith in Business Quarterly, 16.2 (2013), posted here.
  • 'Entrepreneurial Leadership in An Age of Doubt and Faith', Faith in Business Quarterly, 16.3 (2014), posted here.
  • 'Lego Story', Connecting with Culture, March 2014, posted here.
  • 'Faith and Business Practice amongst Christian Entrepreneurs in Developing and Emerging Markets'. With Eric Wood, in Koers - Bulletin for Christian Scholarship 79(2), 2014, posted here.
  • 'The Market for Virtue', Connecting with Culture, November 2014, posted here.
  • 'Christianity and the Prospects for Development in the Global South', in Paul Oslington (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics (OUP, 2014). Abstract here.
  • 'Fully and Gloriously Alive: Virtuous Human Development', Faith in Business Quarterly, 17.1 (2015), posted here.
  • 'Davos Man', Connecting with Culture, January 2015, posted here.
  • 'The Future is Clean: The Sixth Industrial Revolution', Faith in Business Quarterly, 17.2 (2015), posted here.
  • 'The Spirit of Enterprise: Abraham Kuyper and Common Grace in Business', Journal of Markets & Morality, 18.1 (2015). Abstract here.
  • 'Capitalism: Is Greed its Creed?', Faith in Business Quarterly, 17.3 (2016), posted here.
  • 'Steve Jobs' [a reflection prompted by the film named after the Apple founder], Faith in Business Quarterly, 17.4 (2016), posted here.
  • 'Business with a Human Face', Connecting with Culture, September 2016, posted here.
  • 'The Acceptable Face of Capitalism: High Morals for the High Street', Faith in Business Quarterly, 18.1 (2016), posted here

Bridging the Digital Divide

The International Telecommunication Union (ITC) is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs). Its aim is help the world communicate in ways that benefit economic development. Together with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), it produces annual World Information Society Reports. The most recent, published here, reports that the number of people using ICTs around the world has doubled over the past decade. There are now around three billion mobile phones users.


The economist CK Prahalad is one of the leading advocates of the idea that there are vast unexploited markets for products and services aimed at the millions of people at the bottom of the economic pyramid. His book Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid is reviewed in this edition of Enterprise Excellence here. For a strategy paper he has co-authored with Allen Hammond that makes a business case for bridging the digital divide, click here.


ICT companies are often amongst the most willing to accept the business case for economic development. Several of them have initiatives specifically designed to help bridge the digital divide. A recent policy paper published by Vodafone and Nokia focuses on how mobile phones, which are used increasingly widely in developing countries, can be used to provide secure financial services. The report can be downloaded here. Hewlett Packard is also active in this area, especially by way of its e-inclusion initiative, details of which are available here.


The positive contribution mobile phones can make to economic development is not limited to financial services. In remote and inaccessible places they also substitute for travel, allow price data to be distributed more quickly and easily, enable traders to reach wider markets and generally oil the wheels of business in ways that are taken for granted in high-income countries. For a recent article in the Economist on the economic benefits of mobile phones, click here.


A working paper published by the Acumen Fund argues that, in a similar way to applications of the Internet, the utilization of mobile phones in developing countries to develop and deliver products and services will act as a model and catalyst for entrepreneurs across a range of markets that may have little to do with mobile telephony. The paper, 'Going Wireless: Dialing for Development', can be downloaded here.


The Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) maintains that success stories in the area of ICT and development can inspire change. It therefore showcases and awards communities in developing countries that have used ICT to achieve economic uplift - click here to download stories. For a GKP report on the specific impact ICT can have on poverty in Asia, click here. Together with the Swiss Agency for Development it has published ICT4D - Connecting People for a Better World, downloadable here.


The Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC) is involved in a number of strategic partnerships designed to foster innovative approaches to development. A FDC publication entitled Digital Dividend or Digital Divide?, focusing on the role of ICT in poverty reduction, is available here.


For a report published by the Harvard University's John F Kennedy School of Government, the World Resources Institute and the Global Challenge Network that uses case studies to make a business case for the role of ICT in development, click here.

A recent Wall Street Journal article here documents the demise of Nicolas Negroponte's dream of a $100 laptop for every child in the developing world. The idea has, however, caught the imagination of engineers and technology entrepreneurs and is unlikely to die out completely if a viable business model can be found. Some primary schools in low-income countries have been selected for trials, the children taking their laptops home at the end of every school day to complete homework.


A detailed survey has been made of the adoption of mobile phones in Keralam, an Indian state with a large fishing industry. The findings show a marked improvement in welfare resulted for consumers and producers alike. The study has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics here. A summary and discussion of the findings in the Economist is available here.


The International Finance Corporation and the Financial Times have recently begun to co-host annual essay competitions on business and development. One Bronze Prize winning essay entitled 'ICTs as Appropriate Technologies for African Development' is available here.


Most forms of ICT depend on electricity, whereas millions of households in the developing world have no access to it. The Energy and Development Report 2000, published by the World Bank and the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme, have sought to identify how technological and commercial innovations and improvements in the investment climate can help solve this problem. The report is available here. More recently, the John F Kennedy School of Governance at Harvard University has produced a report here on the role of the utilities sector in expanding economic opportunity. Many homes in developing countries without electricity are filled with smoke from internal fires. For a New York Times article about a partnership between the Shell Foundation and Envirofit International to introduce the first market based model for providing clean-burning stove technology to the developing world, click here.

Resources relevant to enterprise solutions to poverty that focus on Asia, Africa and the role of China in Africa.

(For books on this subject, click here.)

Asia

The journal China & World Economy appears bi-monthly under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. As the only English-language journal in China devoted to the Chinese economy and its place in the world economy, it aims to provide foreign readers with objective and up-to-date analysis. Click here for further information.


The privatization of some of China's state-owned enterprises has been achieved with limited compromise to social welfare responsibilities, and significant gain in firm performance. This is the finding of three Chinese researches in a paper available here.


While China's economic growth brings prosperity to many, large numbers of poor people live in remote rural areas, particularly in the country's western provinces. For a World Bank article that claims that local government should aim to provide an enabling environment for rural enterprise development, click here.


An article here from the China Daily claims that the rise of China's 150 million entrepreneurs and freelance professionals are gradually being recognized as crucial to the country's economic development. It also reports that many of these entrepreneurs are keen for the Chinese government to allow private sector investment in state-owned companies and that private enterprises and state-owned enterprises should receive equal treatment when applying for bank loans.


The UK government's Department for International Development publishes Developments, a high quality quarterly magazine on economic development. The latest edition (issue 39) focuses on India. Subscriptions to the print version are free and articles can be downloaded for free here.


It is well known, due to massive media interest, that the World Economic Forum (WEF) meets every year in Davos. Less well known is that it also meets in other centres, such as New Delhi, Beijing and Cape Town. The recent India summit, held in Delhi, explored the many facets of the country's economic, social and political transformation with leaders from all sectors and from around the world. A report is available here. The CEO of BT, Ben Verwaayen, who acted as co-chair, has made his diary reflections on the summit available here. In a speech at the summit, Mr Verwaayen highlighted the mass migration that is taking place from India's rural areas and suggested that the spread of technology and the opportunities it provides should help to stem the flow to the cities. To see his short webcast on the eve of the summit, click here.


Asia's top young entrepreneur has been identified. BusinessWeek.com has sponsored an on-line contest to select Asia's most promising entrepreneur under the age of 30. The winner is N Nguyen Minh Tri from Vietnam, who at only 25 has already started two companies: My World World (a Web 2.0 firm) and Viet Tech (which supports outsourced information technology operations). Nguyen is typical of many new Vietnamese entrepreneurs who operate successfully in both the East and the West - his firms have offices in both Ho Chi Minh City and Portland, Oregon. The quality of the runners up in the competition reflect the new dynamism of Asia's entrepreneurial culture. More...


East Asian economies still rely heavily on knowledge flows from Japan and the US, but the region's economies are beginning to build their own home-based knowledge industries as well. Patenting and CIT activity is growing, especially in Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, continue to lag behind. These are some of the key findings of a new World Bank study of innovation in East Asia, available here.


India is at the epicentre of the global 'innovation shift.' The country is no longer simply a low cost business location but has become a major innovator in its own right. While SMEs are becoming a bigger part of the innovation eco-system, 96% of large firms expect to increase spending on innovation in the next 3-5 years. Indian business does face considerable challenges, however, including skills shortages, difficulties in collaborating with universities and government agencies, and a lack of an internal corporate focus on innovation as a strategy for growth and competitiveness. These are the findings of the recent report Innovation in India by the National Knowledge Commission.

Africa

Africa's economic prospects are steadily improving. According to a report by the International Monetary Fund, growth in sub-Saharan Africa should reach 6.75 percent in 2008, thereby sustaining the good performance of many regions in recent years. Sub-Saharan Africa has been experiencing its strongest growth and lowest inflation in over 30 years.


The Doing Business reports are annual surveys of enterprise around the world, produced by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank. The Doing Business 2008 report contains good news for Africa. Mauritius comes out top in Africa for ease of doing business and Ghana and Kenya show strong economic reform. This was recognized at the launch of the European launch of the report, at which the Finance Ministers from Ghana and Kenya, and the Finance Secretary from Mauritius, received World Bank awards. The current crisis in Kenya casts a particularly long shadow, therefore, over an otherwise promising country.


Economic growth is not sufficient to alleviate poverty but it is absolutely necessary. The most effective way, therefore, in which governments and donors can contribute to development is by enabling business - large and small, domestic and foreign - to flourish. As most people in developing countries depend on a vibrant private sectorfor their livelihoods, aid should target the constraints of inadequate infrastructure, poor governance, and an economic and regulatory climate that is often hostile to investment. That is the argument of a report called Path to a Prosperous Africa: A Business Perspective.


If sustained economic growth and improved competitiveness are key to the generation of income and employment in Africa, private investment needs to increase. The World Bank has two programmes - the Africa Private Sector Development initiative and the Africa Regional Program on Enterprise Development (RPED) - which aim to support the drivers of growth and help foster an enabling environment, thereby reducing the costs and risks to business. A number of papers and other resources are available via these weblinks.


A report entitled Key to Growth: Supporting South Africa's Emerging Entrepreneurs claims that there is a growing consensus amongst South African politicians, journalists, academics, civil society representative and business leaders that entrepreneurship should be vigorously encouraged in the fight against poverty. The report claims, however, that there is a lack of focus in carrying out the necessary reforms, and that misconceptions about the meaning and purpose of entrepreneurship abound. The report is produced by the leading South African development think tank, the Centre for Development and Enterprise, which has a special focus on the role of business in development. It can be downloaded here.


The Smith Institute, founded in memory of John Smith, the former leader of the UK's Labour Party, has produced a report on the role of science, technology and innovation in economic growth in Africa. Experts in international development contribute essays that take a risk-taking, problem-solving approach to African development. The Forward is by Gordon Brown.


The renowned development economist William Easterly has written an article here in which he argues that the way progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is measured paints a far too bleak picture of Africa.


The Commission for Africa, founded by Tony Blair when he was Prime Minister, published a substantial report in 2005 entitled Our Common Interest with the aim of helping Africa to become a strong and prosperous continent. Copies of the report are available here.


The United Nations' Economic Commission for Africa produces annual economic reports on Africa, available here.

China in Africa

What drives China's increasing involvement in Africa and are the implications for Africa's development? An IMF Working Paper here assesses China's multifaceted influence as market, donor, financer, investor, contractor and builder. The paper argues that, although China's public sector, particularly state financial institutions, has been central to Sino-African relations, the influence of China's private sector is increasing. It ends by signalling what the economic implications of this might be.


What can Africa learn from China's success against poverty? Until recently, China had a higher poverty rate than Africa, whereas now it is one of the world's leading economies. One important lesson for Africa is the importance of productivity growth in smallholder agriculture. Another is the importance of strong leadership and a capable public administration at all levels of government. These are the findings of a World Bank research paper located here.


What about the ethics of China's growing role in Africa? Are there implications for Africa in the area of corruption, human rights and the development of democracy? Two articles that address this area are by:

  • David Shinn, a former US diplomat in Africa before becoming a professor in international affairs at George Washington University. Click here to read his article.
  • Ian Taylor, senior lecturer in international relations at the University of St. Andrews and author of China and Africa, reviewed here on Transforming Business' website. Click here to read his article.

At the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town in June 2007, Li Zhaoxing, until recently China's Foreign Minister said the relationship with Africa remains a priority for China and that the close partnership between the regions would allow both to better address the challenges of globalization. He declared that trade between China and Africa had trebled over the last five years and that over 800 Chinese companies have set up on the continent. He committed China to working with Africa to improve the living standards of ordinary Africans and to create a climate of greater peace and prosperity. More here.