Knut Ostby: Speech at the Signing of Cost-sharing Agreement on Mobilizing Social Business

Aug 22, 2014

H.E. Mr. António da Conceição, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Environment; H.E. Filipus Nino Pereira, Secretary of State for Commerce and Industry; Representative from Korean Embassy; Ladies and gentlemen.

We are signing an agreement today on social business. There are differences between social business and regular business. But there are also similarities.

Often when we talk about business, we imagine a rich businessman sitting over there, and the people sitting somewhere else. But business cannot exist without people, and people needs business for economic development.

Therefore, the fundamental purpose of social business is to bring people together with business. Social business empowers people. Social business gives people direct access to building their livelihoods.

One difference between social business and other business is that social business is not only looking for profit. Social seeks to improve people’s lives through their involvement in business.

Through our successful partnership with the Ministry in this social business project, we have identified key policy challenges. We will help the Ministry to address these policy challenges. And this will help small and medium enterprises and will protect consumers.

This project is about a national industrial policy for Timor-Leste. We (together) want a green industrial policy, which is consistent with globalization and market orientation. This project is also about protection of consumers and quality assurance for alimentary items.

I wish to congratulate Your Excellency for demonstrating great leadership through this initiative. You have identified the need to create an enabling business environment for business development. The improvement in the business environment will help many more businesses to establish themselves and to grow.

I also wish to thank your Excellency for the trust you are showing in UNDP and in the Social Business project through this partnership. The partnership we create through Government cost-sharing directly in this project will create synergies and strong national ownership, both of the process and pof the results.

The support from UNDP will ensure a high quality level of the result and will help the project benefit from knowledge from regional and global networks.

I believe that a proactive industrial policy is one of the important pillars that we need to achieve economic development and diversification of the economy in Timor-Leste. I congratulate your Excellency’s on your foresight and leadership in this area. This will help more people of Timor-Leste contribute directly to economic development and diversification through more social business opportunities.

This remarkable day for all of us and I hope to see similar leadership with the other government institution and partners.