Wednesday, 6 April, 2016

With the launch of the G20 Global Platform on Inclusive Business (GPIB), the G20 has delivered on the G20 Leaders' Call from the 2015 Summit in Antalya to strengthen inclusive business and set up a platform on inclusive business policy research and learning. G20 members applauded the introduction of the GPIB to bridge the gap in peer learning and to exchange knowledge on inclusive business policy among G20 members and non-members. The platform, managed by UNDP and the World Bank Group, is now online at www.g20inclusivebusiness.org. The platform will contribute to the inclusive growth agenda of the G20 and to the implementation of the Agenda 2030. The G20 troika supported the work of the GPIB and called for widespread contributions towards peer-to-peer learning. The platform will also further facilitate the dissemination of the G20 Inclusive Business Framework, which was mentioned as inspiring and influencing a variety of other initiatives (e.g. APEC).

The feedback from business representatives – received directly through the April 6 workshop from Huawei, Malongo, and Muji and through the GPIB's crowd sourcing activity from business – revealed a mixed picture on the levels of awareness and development of inclusive business policies. While many countries have some policy instruments in place, these are not always known to inclusive business representatives. The demand for support spans all four policy areas, comprising financing, information, rules, and capacity. For example, inclusive businesses emphasized the need for financial products for inclusive business and the base of the pyramid (BOP), and stressed the importance of capacity building, public awareness campaigns, and procurement policies. At the same time, policies can be interlinked, such as capacity building programs in developing countries which are related to public awareness programs and procurement policies in industrialized and emerging economies.

Focusing specifically on financing as a policy instrument to promote inclusive business, workshop participants stressed the importance of information sharing on financial tools among donors, financial institutions and the private sector. Inclusive businesses often provide their own financing directly to the BOP, but government support and financing, including official development assistance (ODA), can unlock the full potential of inclusive business opportunities.

Business representatives also discussed how they are engaging in inclusive business along their value chains, and noted that smaller inclusive businesses may require different kinds of policy support than multinational corporations (MNCs). Furthermore, information and communication technologies provide new opportunities for promoting inclusive businesses and integrating the BOP in their value chains.

Government experience shared at the workshop by G20 members (AUS, BRA, FRA, GER, IDN, ITA, JAP, MEX, SAF, among others) and non-G20 members (Philippines, Colombia) varied widely, from incorporating an inclusive business focus in international development strategies, to introducing inclusive private sector development in policy efforts in individual countries. In all cases, governments highlighted the need to coordinate across line ministries and involve multiple stakeholders – the private sector, universities, chambers of commerce, and civil society, among others – in developing their approaches and strategies for fostering inclusive business. The steps for developing an inclusive business policy approach should start by increasing the awareness of the G20's inclusive business definition and framework and identifying a champion or lead agency. This should be followed by engaging with appropriate government agencies and key stakeholders.

In conclusion, the Official GPIB Launch and Workshop engaged participants and actively shared inclusive business policy experiences. The GPIB provides an opportunity to address the demands raised by the G20 members on peer learning and knowledge on inclusive business policies. Questions for further research included how to develop specific policy instruments and ecosystems for inclusive business that are more targeted than general private sector development approaches, determining the appropriate financial products, and providing targeted support to developing inclusive value chains.

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