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Private sector crucial for growth in developing countries

Providing entrepreneurs in developing countries access to financial services is crucial, Princess Máxima of the Netherlands has told the conference Be Social, Make Profit: Financing the Future of Developing Economies.

At the conference, held to mark the 40th anniversary of Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen emphasised that economic growth is essential in developing countries to ensure equal distribution of wealth.

“Investing in infrastructure is important for economic growth in developing countries,” Verhagen said.

He referred to the Infrastructure Development Fund set up by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and FMO, which focuses on higher-risk infrastructure investment projects in developing countries.

The FMO conference brings together business leaders from Dutch and international organisations, entrepreneurs, academics and politicians for a day of topical discussion and debate on themes such as reaping financial returns from sustainable investment, the positive influence of the private sector on combating poverty in developing countries, and the implications of the global power shift for economic growth in developing countries.

FMO chief executive Nanno Kleiterp said in his opening speech: “Global relations are in the process of changing dramatically; economic growth will come from developing countries, not developed countries, in the years to come. At the same time, drastic changes are needed in order to fight poverty and take action against the growing threat of climate change. The private sector is crucial in both cases. Our experience in developing countries shows that development impact, good governance and respect for environmental and social criteria go hand in hand with healthy financial results in the long term. That is the lesson we have learned in our 40-year history.”

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