Is Business the answer?

Adrian Ristow writes:

Having spent some time in New York recently at the UN’s End Poverty event, and being a bit of a philosopher, I am going to take the liberty of sharing a few general personal thoughts… I know that some people get a bit skeptical that weeks such as these involve a lot of talk (and yes there was a lot of talk!) and not enough action. But I must say that I am encouraged by the passion and energy that I see in a growing number of people. It has to start somewhere and I feel that more and more ordinary people are also now becoming aware of the world’s key issues and want to do something about them. Social media such as Simon’s blog (this ColaLife blog) are no doubt playing a role in this education process and I think that there is an emerging generation of business people who take a much stronger interest in development problems. Okay, okay, off my soapbox and back to the MDC project.

During October we have been tying up some loose ends on the research report with the IFC and Kennedy School of Government. This research is really helping us to frame our next steps in the project. In parallel to this I am happy to say that since The Coca-Cola Company’s initial submission to the Business Call to Action early in 2008, we have calculated that over 500 new Manual Distribution Centres (MDCs) have been opened in East and West Africa, meaning new direct employment for around 2,500 people as well. So, while we focus on improving the development impact of the model through our Tanzanian project, the general momentum continues as more people are set up in their own small businesses on the continent, which is really positive.