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The debate concerning the impacts of globalisation, which was previously the preserve of economists, is now of interest to a much broader section of the population. People are starting to ask questions about the ways in which we consume and exchange industrial goods in an interconnected world and to highlight increasing concerns over climate-related challenges. Cure-all for African unemployment? The Asian miracle? Responsible for climate change? A solution for (in)dependence and national resilience? While industry is a source of much controversy, it is also frequently touted as an indispensable stage in a country’s economic development.

Consequently, AFD Group, via its private sector financing arm, Proparco, has decided to support carefully-vetted projects in promising sectors of industry such as consumer goods, packaging, textiles and construction materials. Partnering these sectors is contingent on strict stewardship of the related corporate social responsibility risks. This is why Proparco focuses on a limited number of known players renowned for their best practices and selects impactful projects in areas such as energy efficiency, creating decent jobs and bringing environmental practices into line with international standards. As a means to this end, Proparco has chosen to help players in certain sectors with their energy transition (in the cement sector) or to achieve social progress (textiles).

Industrial sectors continue to face many complex challenges, highlighting the transformations necessary for achieving compliance with strict social and environmental guidelines that guarantee sustainable and more equitable development (i.e., the creation of decent jobs, harnessing clean technology, shared innovation, etc.). These transformations help underpin the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change. As well as causing economic hardship across the planet, the health and economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 epidemic has also brought these questions into clearer focus.

In this issue of Private Sector & Development, Proparco attempts to conduct a non-exhaustive analysis of these issues by letting researchers, entrepreneurs, NGOs and experts in providing technical assistance have their say.

Enjoy your reading!


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