Responsible business forum

Investment is essential for development, but not all investment brings the wide benefits it promises. This is because the impact of investment on development depends on many things. The type of investment is one factor, but more important is the way in which businesses conduct their activities. This also largely depends on whether the policy and regulatory environment provided by governments encourages or discourages responsible business conduct.

The MENA Responsible Business Forum, launched in Cairo in October 2008, reflects the understanding that investors who conduct their business in a responsible way are more likely to deliver sustainable benefits to the wider community. But, unlike many other initiatives in this area, it emphasises the role of government as a crucial factor in providing an enabling operating climate for responsible business. Only then will investment agencies feel they are attracting the right kind of investors, and only then will businesses that are committed to responsible practices feel confident that they will remain profitable.

So far, the forum has focused on raising awareness of the importance of responsible business conduct, developing tools and guidelines tailored to the region's governments and businesses, and promoting actions to improve integrity and transparency, fight corruption, develop skills and entrepreneurship, and tackle climate change.

The forum is open to designated representatives of all recognized governments, companies, nongovernmental organisations and international organisations that support its goals. Its secretariat is based at the Egyptian Corporate Responsibility Centre in Cairo. The MENA Responsible Business Forum does not have its own source of finance and relies on the commitment of participants for its energy and delivery of its goals. Participating organisations cover their own costs.

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© OECD Observer, No. 275, November 2009

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