Regional Development and Cohesion.
Regional multistakeholder coalitions and alliances:
The Africa Growth Platform (AGP)
A project to promote job creation by scaling up 100 million SMEs and start-ups (especially youth and women-led) in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution by 2025.
Initiated by the Africa Regional Business Council at the World Economic Forum on Africa in 2019, the project leverages the recently signed Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement. It is supported by a multistakeholder network keen to develop sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems, reduce barriers to entry for entrepreneurs (especially in rural areas) and commercialize Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies in Africa.
In participating countries and sub-regions, platforms for knowledge sharing and collaboration will be built to develop forward-looking, industry-based best practice solutions.
The platform is supported by the Governments of Botswana, Ghana and Kenya. The founding members are A.T. Kearney, Alibaba Group, Dalberg Group, Export Trading Group, US Africa Development Foundation, and Zenith Bank.
One of the Forum’s flagship projects in South-East Asia, the initiative aims to contribute to the development of a vibrant regional digital economy.
It was launched in April 2018, and with the full involvement of ASEAN ministers of digital economy, ICT and trade as well as the heads of regional and global businesses.
The ASEAN region is the fastest-growing internet market in the world: the online population increases by 125,000 users every day, e-commerce is flourishing, and the region is producing exciting tech unicorns. However, much of the activity is still at a national rather than a regional level.
Working with a multistakeholder community of more than 100 organizations, the initiative is helping to shape regional data policy, harmonize regional e-payment systems, build digital skills and promote cooperation and capacity-building in ASEAN cybersecurity.
Under the project, the Forum launched the ASEAN Digital Skills Vision 2020 programme to pioneer a collective pledge among companies and organizations to train workers, regulators and the public in digital skills. In its first 10 months, 20 organizations have joined the programme, with a combined commitment to train nearly 11 million workers at ASEAN SMEs and provide more than 30,000 internship opportunities.
The project’s ASEAN e-Payments Coalition also developed a recommendation paper on e-payments to support the development of the ASEAN Payments Policy Framework by the ASEAN governments.
New Vision for Agriculture (NVA) India
An initiative to facilitate innovative partnership models for improving agricultural productivity and opportunities for farmers in India.
NVA India has developed Public-Private Partnerships for Integrated Agricultural Development (PPP-IAD) and supported multistakeholder partnership platforms in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra to strengthen value chains and boost farmers’ incomes.
Over the past seven years, these partnerships have benefited more than 600,000 farmers and improved incomes by 10%-30%. NVA India is also working with the Indian government to establish a national multistakeholder platform – the Agricultural Value System Partnership Platform – to support the Indian prime minister’s vision of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022.
A partnership of innovative and market-based platforms that have leveraged several billion dollars of new investment to the benefit of millions of smallholder farmers in 13 countries.
The initiative promotes public and private investments and multistakeholder partnerships aligned with the National Agriculture Investment Plans in African countries. The Grow Africa partnership was founded by the African Union, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD Agency) and the Forum in 2011 and is managed by the African Union Development Agency.
A series of value-chain projects bringing together farmers, governments, companies and civil society to lift the productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability of smallholder agriculture through market-based and multistakeholder approaches.
Established in 2015 by the Forum, in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat, Grow Asia engages more than 480 organizations through over 44 value chain projects in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Viet Nam, reaching 1.3 million farmers to date.
Breaking the Impasse Initiative
An initiative aims to advance dialogue on the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations in support of the two-state solution.
Under this initiative, the Forum regularly convenes a community of Israeli, Palestinian and international business leaders to explore how the private sector can contribute to move the needle on peace efforts.
Since the Annual Meeting 2018, the community has focused on exploring innovative avenues of collaboration in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to bridge the digital divide between the two sides. Since emerging technologies hold great promise for Palestinian economic development, the community has identified paths to scale up Palestinian tech talent and attract investments in the tech industry.
Arab Start-Ups Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution
An initiative that convenes the most promising 100 Arab start-ups selected by leading experts of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Arab start-ups have reached new heights in the past few years. Through tailored activities, dynamic entrepreneurs have the opportunity to interact with established business leaders and policy-makers to actively shape their own and their region’s future.
To further support start-ups as part of this initiative, the Bahrain Economic Development Board introduced a new programme in 2019 in partnership with the World Economic Forum to help start-ups in Bahrain to rapidly scale up their businesses and access a broader spectrum of support, such as access to funding, access to decision-makers and fast-tracking of applications. By using an innovation-centric approach, “Team Bahrain” has also achieved key initiatives that contribute to the transition of the kingdom into a digital economy and to the creation of new sustainable sectors.
These initiatives include policies, regulations and entities beginning with the launch of the regulatory sandbox, to cloud-first policy, open banking regulations and, more recently, the crypto-asset platform operator (CPO) regulations, as well as the establishment of entities such as Bahrain Fintech Bay and Export Bahrain, which offer companies opportunities and solutions to internationalize.
Team Bahrain’s collaboration with stakeholders across the public and private sectors has attracted key start-ups from the region to Bahrain, such as: MIZA Financial Services and Moodfit, in addition to homegrown start-ups such as Skiplino, GetBaqala, Malaeb and The Experience Accelerator.
Strategic Dialogue on the Western Balkans
An ongoing, structured dialogue that serves as a trusted and impartial platform for leaders from the region and relevant partners to discuss the future of the Western Balkans, foster regional cooperation and advance economic development, and prepare for a future that will be shaped by the developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Initiated by the Forum at its Annual Meeting 2018, the dialogue has created a number of outcomes to date. These include: the first regional Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Western Balkans that will link the region to the global network; a Competitiveness and Innovation Accelerator aiming to identify and scale up selected initiatives that can contribute to increasing the diffusion of innovative technologies and business models and build more inclusive and sustainable systems; and Transformation Maps – the Forum’s Strategic Intelligence platform used by a large community of business and government leaders, academia and youth – which will feature dynamic and in-depth analyses dedicated to the Western Balkans to map strategic trends and interdependencies.
Finally, the Forum is supporting regional and international efforts to contribute to a positive future in the Western Balkans, such as the EBRD’s Western Balkans Investment Summit (London, 24 February 2020), Western Balkans Digital Summit (Albania, April 2020) and the EU Summit under the Croatian presidency of the Council of the European Union (Zagreb, 6-7 May 2020)
Regional company leadership in corporate global citizenship:
Dell Technologies PolicyHack: Education Technology India
A platform connecting policy-makers around the world with community voices legislative solutions addressing the reimagination of the 21st-century classroom, with acknowledgement that it is essential to include teachers in these dialogues.
According to UNICEF, over half of India’s youth may be ill-equipped for the job market by 2030. A frightening statistic for what is considered the biggest and one of the world’s youngest democracies.
Governments in the developing world are increasingly focused on addressing the needs of students to ensure they are prepared with skills for a digital future. A big opportunity is the use of technology to improve access, affordability and quality of education. With its agnosticism to socio-economic parameters, education technology can be a truly universal and inclusive revolution. However, education technology has fallen short in helping teachers unlearn, relearn and leverage this disruption.
Conceived by Dell Technologies, the Dell PolicyHack has to date worked with local governments, partners and NGOs to implement 22 PolicyHacks in 15 cities around the world.
For Dell PolicyHack India, the company brought together policy-makers and teachers to share their biggest challenges in coping with technology. They came up with solutions for governments, local organizations, think-tanks, industries and school administrations.
In 2019, a cross section of teachers from private, public or government-aided schools from 12 Indian states participated in these policy “hacks”. These candid discussions have already attracted key influencers including India’s leading authority on teacher training, government officials from regional education departments, NGOs, and even EdTech entrepreneurs.
UNESCO MGIEP – UNESCO’s category 1 research institute in Asia – worked closely with Dell Technologies on the content and execution. With key insight ranging from interventions in capacity-building, self-paced learning, peer connect and collaboration to customizing classroom content, Dell PolicyHack India has generated enthusiasm to reform education in India.
Dell Technologies Digital LifeCare India
A pilot in a southern state in India that has spread to more than 15 Indian states and reached 11 million people; it deploys modern digital healthcare solutions to communities with insufficient access to healthcare.
Undertaken by Dell Technologies, the programme aims to reach all states in India and other rural parts of the world, bridging inequalities in the healthcare sector.
Access to healthcare is a global priority but, in India alone, almost two-thirds of 1.3 billion citizens live in rural, difficult-to-access areas and suffer from poor health literacy and lack of access to healthcare centres and healthcare professionals.
This is coupled with the fact that noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like cancer, diabetes and heart disease have been on the rise in India, creating a sense of urgency to find solutions.
In 2014, in partnership with the Government of India and Tata Trusts, Dell Technologies undertook the challenge of delivering preventive healthcare to more than 800 million remote villagers. The aim was to help healthcare professionals through technology to screen NCDs and to assist the Government of India with standardization and automation of care and record keeping. The solution also enables policy-makers to use analytics from the data collected to determine health trends and needs across the country. All patient data is synced and stored in the government cloud to track health patterns nationwide and inform public health policy. Quality and affordable healthcare can now be brought to the doorstep.
HP eHealth Center (eHC) initiative, India
An initiative to improve the effectiveness and access to primary healthcare in underserved areas across Asia, most notably in India.
Addressing the need for affordable healthcare in rural areas and rapidly emerging cities, the eHC initiative is a collaboration with an impressive network of governments and NGOs.
The programme has facilitated over 1 million patient visits, with 280 eHCs and mobile eHCs operational across India. The initiative launched in 2012 in a small village in North India, providing a cloud-enabled healthcare infrastructure solution that also offers health-data analytics.
These eHCs are containerized, hold medical equipment and provide teleconsulting, storage of data on the cloud and regular dashboards. A mobile device solution is also available. These centres will offer free diagnostic services to more than 50,000 people as part of the USAID TB pledge to make India TB-free by 2025. Additional partners are welcome to help expand this network.
The Mahindra Group - Nanhi Kali Education Programme, India
Their work is focused on girl child education, skill building for youth and farmers, and community development through innovative high-impact interventions.
The Mahindra Group believes in building enduring businesses by rejuvenating the environment and enabling stakeholders to Rise. The Mahindra Group-supported Nanhi Kali Project (meaning “little bud” in Hindi) has, since inception in 1996, provided educational support to 375,000+ underprivileged girls across 10 states of India. Every Nanhi Kali receives 360-degree support including daily afterschool tuition, school supplies kits and digital tablets for secondary school girls.
Since 2007, nine Mahindra Pride Schools have also provided livelihood training in ITES, retail, hospitality and auto service and soft skills, to 36,000 socially and economically marginalized youth. In addition, 210,000 students have received training through Mahindra Pride Classrooms, which are implemented in partnership with ITI’s, Polytechnics and colleges in 14 states.
The Group also runs a unique programme called Employee Social Options (ESOPs) to enable and encourage employees to volunteer for social and environmental causes. In FY 2019, employees contributed ~190,000 hours.
On environmental issues, The Mahindra Group has made ambitious commitments and significant progress in the fight climate change – investing in energy efficiency, upscaling renewable energy and creating carbon sinks by planting 1,000,000+ trees every year since 2007. The Group aims to be carbon-neutral by 2040 and is using an internal carbon price of $10 per ton. The Mahindra Group is also water positive, has 13 of its facilities “zero waste to landfill” certified and 20 of its group companies have signed on for the Science-based Targets Initiative
Novartis - Provision of Innovative Medicines in sub-Saharan Africa
25% of the global disease burden is located in Africa, yet the share of the world’s health expenditure for Africa is below 1%. Novartis aims to maximize patient reach across the full income pyramid by focusing on tiered pricing models, competitiveness in tenders and scaling up social business models, while working with partners to strengthen health systems in the region.
Novartis is building on its established activities in malaria, cancer, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, sickle cell disease and cardiovascular diseases as well as proven social business models on the continent. The strategy is aligned with the Novartis Access Principles, which were launched in 2018, and aim to systematically integrate access strategies in how the company researches, develops and delivers medicines globally.
Most recently, Novartis announced a broad public-private partnership with the government of Ghana to tackle sickle cell disease, including access to available medicine, clinical research and use of digital technologies to achieve global standards of care.
Sberbank - Contribution to the Future Education Project, Russia
A charitable foundation launched by Sberbank in 2015 that helps develop a modern educational environment to meet the challenges of the 21st century; financial and digital inclusion are among the most important focus areas.
Sberbank believes that investing in education and youth development is essential for global economic transformation and well-being. The Bank allocates considerable funds to support a wide-range of educational programmes, scientific conferences and skills competitions for youth. The Bank actively supports the “Teacher for Russia” programme that enables the talented graduates of top Russian universities to teach in regular schools throughout the country. In 2018, the programme brought together 177 young teachers and covered 21,000 students from 64 schools in six regions of Russia.
Sberbank also focuses on educational initiatives targeted at strengthening and extending the professional IT community in Russia. In 2018, Sberbank started its educational project, School 21, which prepares world-class programming specialists to support the digital transformation of the Russian economy. School 21 operates under a franchise of 42 associations and includes 19 partner campuses situated in 13 countries. In Russia, two campuses operate in Moscow and Kazan. Artificial intelligence and data science are foundational focus areas for Sberbank and its entire ecosystem. Since 2016, Sberbank has been organizing AI online competitions and international conferences. In 2018, Sberbank launched AI Academy for senior schoolchildren to boost their interest to the topic and upgrade their programming skills. In 2019, Sberbank helped organize the Artificial Intelligence Journey Forum in Moscow, which brought together leading global speakers and over 5,000 participants.
Mahindra Finance (The Mahindra Group’s Finance Company) - Socially Enabled Entrepreneurial Development Mission (SEED) India
SEED provides rural populations with access to credit based on potential cash flows instead of only existing assets.
Over 25 years, Mahindra Finance has pioneered the “earn and pay” customer financing model to facilitate the Socially Enabled Entrepreneurial Development mission (SEED). This has nurtured almost 7,000,000 rural entrepreneurs into the mainstream financial system – covering 370,000 villages out of 600,000+ villages across India, with most of the 30,000 employees recruited locally.
Mahindra Finance also supports livelihood generation for women, youth and the differently-abled through projects like Hunnar (skill) in partnership with NGOs, which positively affected 188,000 lives in FY 2019.
KPMG - Barrio 31 Buenos Aries Strategic Resettlement Plan
A strategic resettlement plan, which supports the UN SDGs by reducing poverty and improving the quality of life for the residents of Barrio 31 in Buenos Aires, leads the way for housing and urban change throughout Argentina.
Barrio 31 is one of the largest and most visible slums in Argentina. The neighborhood is home to more than 40,000 people and has been separated from the main city by an old highway – this meant that, in the past, residents did not receive basic municipal services, such as sanitation, water, public transport or even street lighting.
Recently, it was decided that the highway dividing Barrio 31 from the main city would be moved south to ease traffic flow and congestion. It presented the opportunity for the government to implement this strategic resettlement plan.
KPMG has supported the management and coordination of the entire project, with long-term success and sustainability as the goal. KPMG also developed a tool which will help in the reallocation of the families in Barrio 31 to their new buildings – based on, for example, number of people in the family, ages and special needs.
The project has captured the attention of development banks, policy-makers, academics and not-for-profit organizations. The World Bank has put $170 million in credit towards funding many of the needed infrastructure aspects. The Inter-American Development Bank has also extended a $150 million credit note to the project to help drive programmes aimed at improving public spaces and redeveloping housing.