Poverty on the agenda at National University of Samoa

Poverty and ways to address it was on the agenda at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) on Thursday.

It was the focus of discussion during a special session, which featured a visiting Professor from the United States of America.

Prof. Ted London is a recognised scholar from William Davidson Institute, vice president of Scaling Impacts Initiatives and Professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

He traveled from the United States of America to present during a seminar on the topic, “Building Businesses with Impact and Scale: Strategies for Reaching the World’s Poor.”

During the session, he highlighted that poverty or being extremely poor in is a concern worldwide.

“Alleviating poverty in Samoa requires the involvement of the private and public sectors, if the government and private owned businesses affiliate in approaching the poor then there will be a possibility that the level of poverty will decrease slowly,” Prof. Ted said.

“If our local and foreign businesses affiliate with the Government in addressing this issue then they will create value for the people with benefits.”

Director of the N.U.S. Centre of Samoan Studies, Togialelei Dr Safua Akeli said the seminar illustrated the need to clarify some of the assumptions around poverty.

It also raised questions about the work of development in communities.

“Because of the growing population, we should consider where Samoa fits, what are the approaches that are currently in place and is there room for the private sector to collaborate,” she told the Samoa Observer.

She explained there would be a big difference if the private sector agrees to collaborate because poverty cannot only be addressed by the government.

"The private sectors are often missing but their collaboration will motivate the addressing of social issues and we can approach them whether it’s in health or business because they play a crucial role in the community,” she added.

It was highlighted during the seminar the importance of building sustainability to ensure the planet is capable of sustaining a growing population that continue to consume resources the way they do.

Sustainability will help people to be more inclusive of the wealth they inhabite and will contribute to lessening the poverty level in Samoa and every other country.

Prof. Ted explained poverty can lead to many things such as, diseases and physical limitations, but these problems however can be avoided or prevented with the right strategies and toolkit.

His published work of 25 years and a recent award winning book the B.O.P (Base of the Pyramid Promise) contains information and ideas of alleviating poverty that targets the world’s lowest markets.

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