The G20 promotes aid through entrepreneurship

Peace Dividend Trust, a non-profit organization that works to link peacekeeping and humanitarian operations to local entrepreneurs in strife-torn countries, was recognized today at the G20 summit in Seoul.

PDT’s’ Ottawa-based executive director, Scott Gilmore (full disclosure: he’s a friend), is standing on stage with President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and others, in a photo here, on the website of Changemakers, which ran a contest for the G20 among social entrepreneurial organizations.

Before the Seoul summit, 14 groups were selected as finalists for their innovative proposals for promoting small and medium sized enterprises. Then Changemakers held an online vote for the top three. PDT made it into that final group, announced today, for its plan to provide loan guarantees to enterprises in developing countries, based on their track records in winning international procurement contracts.

Highlighting the work of groups like PDT, which try to help out small businesses in troubled places, dovetails with the G20’s broader theme of refocusing development efforts on the building up the private sector in poor countries. Today’s communiqué talks, for instance, of  “improving access to financial services and expanding opportunities for poor households and small and medium enterprises.”

The question is to what degree the approaches pioneered by nimble players like PDT can be applied more broadly to overseas assistance. CIDA acknowledges the need to support the private sector in developing countries and so does the UN. But how deep does that commitment run? That’s the question to probe after Seoul.













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