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Fighting Poverty Through Enterprise

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Author:
Brian Griffiths and Kim Tan

Nearly 50% of the world’s population — almost 3 billion people 
— live on less than $2 a day. 10 million children die every year from 
easily preventable diseases. AIDS kills 3 million people every year 
and 1 billion people lack access to sanitation. About one-quarter of 
children in poor countries do not finish primary school and some 1 
billion adults are illiterate. 

To date, the debate on tackling global poverty has been dominated 
by the case for providing more aid. The authors of this booklet 
certainly believe that foreign aid has a role to play in facing this 
challenge. However, here they voice the need for greater emphasis 
to be given to the part that business and enterprise can play in 
reducing poverty. 

In recent years China and India have proved dramatic examples of 
countries which have reformed their economies, opened up to trade 
and investment, embraced an enterprise culture, and lifted millions 
of their citizens out of poverty. Griffiths and Tan believe Africa has 
the same potential as Asia. Micro-credit has been a crucial first step 
in directly helping the poor escape poverty. Using case studies they 
argue that social venture capital has the potential to become a new 
asset class and a critical second step to support the growth of small 
and medium sized enterprises in developing countries, so creating 
jobs and reducing poverty.