Working toward a better world

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Today, far too many people will wake up in extreme poverty, enduring a way of life far removed from their counterparts in developed countries. EY’s Rohan Malik takes a look at some of the key challenges and potential solutions that continue to echo across the developing world.

Rooted in the belief that poorer countries and their people can be lifted out of poverty and achieve their potential, huge fortunes have been spent and millions of hours expended over recent decades.

Women are increasingly seen as the engine of the next wave of economic growth.

In my role as Government & Public Sector Emerging Markets Leader at EY, I have seen first-hand the progress that has been made and heard the stories of citizens and leaders, all of whom share high hopes for the future. Yet they are not without their share of concerns.

Getting labor working

World economies are facing weak labor markets and non-inclusive growth, with 200 million unemployed and more than one billion people living in extreme poverty. With nearly 13% of the world’s youth (75 million young people) without jobs, youth unemployment has become a particular concern.

International development partners such as the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank and the United Nations have a critical role to play as strategic partners to governments in developing countries.

It is important to note, though, that in most emerging economies, 9 out of 10 jobs are created by the private sector. When examining how to create the environment for businesses to grow and create jobs, access to capital, access to best practices and access to markets are all crucial.

Securing sustainability

Forming a crucial part of the job creation jigsaw, the contributions of entrepreneurs are highly prized by policy-makers. Entrepreneurs introduce new demand, stimulate competition and create new employment — all by acting on previously unnoticed opportunities and developing innovative, new products, services or processes.

The creation of an environment in which entrepreneurship can flourish will be an important step toward achieving these objectives, as will the need to empower the next emerging market: women.

With nearly one billion expected to enter the workforce over the next decade, women are increasingly seen as the engine of the next wave of economic growth. In emerging markets in particular, women share economic resources more effectively to benefit the wider community and are receiving increased resources from international development agencies as a result.

Governments have a vital part to play in facilitating and encouraging this entrepreneurial development.

Tomorrow

This, of course, is really just a snapshot of a few of the key challenges driving the activities of development professionals every day. Their work, often away from the headlines and behind the scenes, continues to be of huge importance, and their determination to help move countries and their people forward is one shared by EY.

We are not a typical development contractor operating from the sidelines. We were one of the first to set up our operations in developing countries, giving us first-hand, in-depth understanding of the local environment.

Remaining long after the completion of the initial program, we have become integral to the economies of developing countries by investing heavily in the development of our practices. We focus on legacy — not just the completion of a project.

But with more than one billion people still living in destitution, and inequality on the rise in many developing countries, the task is far from complete. As we seek to redouble our efforts, I look forward to joining you in this quest to build a better future for all.