London Calling: WDI's Ted London Gives Keynote Address in the U.K.
His talk before Britain's Department for International Development focused on the bottom of the pyramid and poverty alleviation.
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Ross School faculty member Ted London, a senior research fellow at the William Davidson Institute, spoke last month at the annual retreat for Great Britain's Department for International Development's (DFID)enterprise development and private-sector advisers.
Similar to the U.S. Agency for International Development, DFID is the British government agency that focuses on development and poverty alleviation.
London, who directs WDI's Base of the Pyramid (BoP) Initiative, addressed the growing phenomenon of doing business at the base of the economic pyramid—the poorest four billion people of the world—with a particular emphasis on the role the private sector can play in alleviating poverty. This is an arena that DFID wants to explore more deeply as it thinks about how best to serve the world's poor, London says.
"DFID is interested in considering new models of development that incorporate a market-based perspective," London said. "This was a great opportunity to share our latest thinking on the how the business sector's motivation for growth and profits can be aligned with the development community's efforts to alleviate poverty."
According to DFID's Richard Boulter, London's talk was highly rated by the attendees at the retreat and sparked an important discussion on how DFID could further pursue these ideas. Next steps include collaborating on a base of the pyramid-oriented conference in Vietnam this fall.
Most of those who attended the Dec. 14-16 conference near London, England, work overseas alongside other international donors and national and local governments. They target improving the investment climate, deepening financial sectors, and working on business services initiatives.
WDI's Base of the Pyramid Initiative is a global leader in creating new knowledge, disseminating the latest thinking, building capacity and catalyzing partner organization ventures at the base of the pyramid. The BoP Initiative focuses on understanding and facilitating organizational change and exploring the links between a BoP strategy and poverty alleviation.
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