Executing on SDG 8 will only be possible by working together - South African Small Medium Enterprise Federation

The private sector should be working with civil society and government, not in its own silo.

SASMEF Communications

Jan 26, 2016

In 2015 the South African Small Medium Enterprise Federation (SASMEF) committed itself to aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Develop Goals (SDG) specifically Goal 8; decent work and economic growth. SASMEF also published their 10 point Strategic Agenda which aligns the business to the SDG 8 's targets. The question now is - execution!

We at SASMEF believe that the execution and success of SDG 8 will be through the enablement of the Informal-,Micro-, Small- and Medium Enterprise sector (IMSME). We also believe that execution and success will only be possible by working together. As Dr Naveen Rao, Merck for Mother lead said, "The SDGs highlight that we are wrestling with multi-faceted problems that demand an integrated, multi-sector approach.” For SASMEF this means two things:

  1. It is imperative that civil society, government and private sector work together, not in their own silos.
  2. Even more important is that the IMSME sector and associated agencies work side by side.

When we do this properly, it will allow each partner to do what it does best and complement the others, as stated before this is a multi-faceted problem. We need greater impact for the long term, this will not happen if we continue to fragment our resources, efforts and energy.

“The private sector should be working with civil society and government, not in its own silo.”

The Private Sector Efforts

Private sector should be working with civil society and government, not in its own silo. It is understandable that the private sector has it own business agenda and financial targets that need to be met. IMSME development has predominately been driven by the BBBEE codes around CSI, Preferential Procurement and Enterprise Development, which is focused on compliance rather than developing the IMSME sector. SASMEF believes that the private sector in South Africa need to buy into the SDG's as a means of alleviating poverty, not just being compliant to some codes.

Globally business leaders have pointed out that the relationship can be symbiotic, with corporations finding shared value in working to alleviate poverty. “For businesses, the Global Goals hold the ticket to understanding and accessing new markets, driving accelerated growth, and to ultimately achieving greater financial and social outcomes,” says Natasha Sunderji, Accenture Development Partnerships global health lead. “Forward looking businesses recognize that the relationship between the Goals and private sector growth is symbiotic – healthier, fairer and more prosperous societies make for stronger and more resilient economies, which measurably benefits companies who are willing to invest time, effort and resources into playing their part.”

“The IMSME sector should work with common cause and not fragment their voice and efforts, at the expense of each other."

IMSME Sector Efforts

The IMSME sector should work with common cause and not fragment their voice and efforts, only then will we be able to breakdown the barriers that we are facing. South Africa needs over 49 000 SMEs growing at a rate of 20% per annum or no less than 8.2 million small and micro-enterprises to create the same number of jobs, to meet the National Development Plan (NDP) target of creating 11 million jobs by 2030. There is more than enough opportunity. We need to develop a mentality of abundance rather than our current mentality of scarcity.

The problem we have as a sector is a cacophony of noise coming from the IMSME. What this means is that the political and economic powers only hear their own voice, so policy and execution takes place from their perspective and IMSME continue to become the result of their perspective. We have to unite in our struggle to access markets and money.

SASMEF invites all the IM'SME's, sector players and agencies to join us in the battle to liberate our markets and money to the benefit of the IMSME sector. To quote Jack Kemp, "Economic growth does not mean anything if it leaves anyone out." SASMEF is committed to making all participants in the sector, informal-, micro, small- and medium enterprise successful!

Join the Movement #imsme (www.sasmef.org.za)

If you would like to find out more about the Global Goals watch this video.


Desmond Seely