Why does widening inequality around the world concern you?
Inequality concerns me because it violates the principles of good governance, common good and global solidarity. Inequality especially with regard to widening gaps between North and South translates into a sense of hopelessness and fuels social unrest, creating instability that makes it impossible to achieve economic growth. Inequality creates dependency and breeds social problems such as racism and conflict over resources. We cannot all be rich but we also cannot mostly be poor. Inequality is not just about incomes it is also about inequality in access to essential services such as health, education and housing. And inequality is not just a North-South issue it is also about inequality in trade relations, inequality within countries and within communities.
What is the most important contribution that multilateral institutions could make to tackle widening inequality?
The greatest contribution that can be made is a public commitment that individual multilateral institutions will address specific issues, but all operating under a global accountable and transparent framework. Such a framework must promote collaboration with governments as well as the drivers of economic growth i.e. businesses and the critical eye of civic society
There must be increased sharing and learning so that we can rapidly bring to scale some of the emerging best practices in tackling inequality from different parts of the world.
Technology is a great enabler in multiplying impact and it must be harnessed to ensure that the last mile of connectivity i.e. linking rural communities is prioritised so that they have the information and visibility that makes them an integral part of the global community.
Mr. James Mwai
Director of Programmes- Fairtrade Africa, Kenya
Mr. James Mwai will speak at the panel discussion on Equality and sustainable development: "Delivering with impact" on 19 June
Fairtrade Africa is the network that represents all Fairtrade certified producers in Africa. As Director of Programmes, Mr. Mwai is responsible for programmes that support approximately 400 producer organizations and 900,000 individuals, enabling them secure and grow their businesses and improve their communities.
Before joining Fairtrade Africa, Mr. Mwai worked as a competitiveness consultant with governments, private sector and development organizations in countries including Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Mozambique, working on achieving economic development through inclusive business and investment models. He was previously the Country Sector Leader for Economic Development at SNV Netherlands Development Organization. Mr. Mwai also worked in consultancy and organization development delivering assignments throughout Africa for KPMG TSL and TACK International to blue chip clients.
He has an MBA from Cranfield University, School of Management and is a Certified Public Accountant.