Global Britain has to be a bold Britain, and business can lead the way
Business has a responsibility to act beyond the bottom line, in a world where 72 million children go without primary education, half the world lack access to essential health services, 780 million lack improved water sources and 63 million people are displaced. We must start impacting the lives of all stakeholders, and those throughout supply chains, for good.
I recognise that in the UK, we are a nation with significant challenges and injustices that impact many of us on a daily basis. Bold domestic policy and courageous leadership must address these on both a local and national level through private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
However, as a country we have a long history of international trade, aid and development. In a post-Brexit ‘global’ Britain, it's more important than ever that we redouble our commitment to that.
Ensuring that pressing global injustices are righted is not only a right moral action, and sensible security policy, but it makes economic sense too.
Growth and potential
Multilateral trade agreements brought not only focus to the likes of the USA, China and the European Union, but also to the rapidly growing Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, India, Central and South America regions - all with exponential potential for both meaningful and mutually beneficial investment, innovation and trade.
These regions have often been - and continue to be - recipients of aid by governments and INGOs, and have an enormous amount to offer to the international marketplace. If underestimated, this will leave many of us asking why we missed the opportunity.
For instance, take the swelling youth population of sub-Saharan Africa, and the resulting demographic dividend to be paid over the coming decades to a continent with 60% under-25s.
Anne Bakilana, Senior Economist at the World Bank, noted in her blog '7 facts about population in Sub-Saharan Africa' that in the 60 years between 1950-2010, the region’s population grew from 186 million to 856 million; countries like Nigeria are expected to outgrow the USA by 2050 to the tune of some 30 million.
An exciting future ahead
In addition, improving education, WASH and socio-political structures have driven a significant reduction in levels of deprivation in many areas. The factors perpetuating poverty are declining and an influx of extraordinarily ambitious, informed and connected young people are stepping onto the world stage and changing the status quo.
Disparity between rich and poor has often increased, significant extreme poverty persists, and the issues of population growth far surpassing that of GDP (such as is forecast for Nigeria) are looming. Despite that, the pay-out from a booming population of highly educated, globally connected, tenacious and socially conscious youth and young adults offers an exciting future - one in which greater welfare and wealth is inevitable.
The future is flexible and dynamic
Of course, it's not just in Africa where young people are bringing an economic step change through an innovative and entrepreneurial start-up landscape; it's seen across the UK, US and elsewhere too.
The approach to work is changing furthered through greater flexibility and a clear growth of values-based businesses models.
No longer is it acceptable to just clock in and out of work; the younger generations expect more from their workplace, and if they can’t get it, well, they'll start their own thing.
A dynamic business-minded and socially hearted enterprise revolution is unfolding before us, and the question is: will you welcome the future?