President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on governments to involve the private sector more in their post-Covid-19 plans saying the non-state actors had the resources and the know-how to assist in economic recovery.
He challenged global leaders to apply lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic by rethinking their development strategies to include greater private sector participation.
“The private sector will be key in this endeavour. The pandemic has demonstrated that given the right political and institutional support; the sector can complement the public sector to, rapidly create the needed capacity and innovation to beat the virus and catalyze strong and resilient recovery,” the President said.
The Kenyan Head of State spoke on Monday in a video statement delivered at United Nations Global Compact’s Private Sector Forum held on the margins of the ongoing 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76) in New York.
He said Kenya had expanded private sector’s participation in her growing economy by strengthening the country’s public, private partnerships (PPPs) framework.
For countries to “build back better” from the Covid-19 pandemic, President Kenyatta pointed out that the UN Global Compact needs to become more proactive in ensuring businesses become “a force for good, engine for innovation and a strong partner for the global society”.
“We need to harness the private sector to address the challenge of the global food systems and also sustainable energy production. Approximately 700 million people in the world are today undernourished, and one quarter of the world’s population is food insecure,” he said.
President Kenyatta pointed out that food systems, sustainable energy production and climate change are intertwined and require multi-stakeholder partnerships at all levels to advance innovative pathways to tackle them.
“This should go hand in hand with sound business practices, including the management of chemicals and waste, reduction of food losses, prevention of plastic pollution and zero incidence of corruption. This is a raison d’etre of the UN Global Compact,” the President said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who also spoke at the event said Climate Change and Covid-19 had reversed gains made in achieving SDGs and called for bold trans-formative changes with governments, private sector and civil society working together in solidarity to reverse the situation.
“The business community, governments, and civil societies must urgently and ambitiously work together to pursue green recovery from the pandemic,” the UN Secretary-General said.
World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley reiterated President Kenyatta’s call to involve the private sector in ending hunger and poverty.
The WFP Executive Director called on the private sector to be more magnanimous by expanding their charity and philanthropic support for global end hunger initiatives.