Access for All: Building Inclusive Economic Systems

Promoting inclusive economic development has become a top priority worldwide. This goal remains the domain of governments, international donor agencies, and philanthropists. But the landscape is changing rapidly. Today, a wider range of players seek profit with purpose, including millennials, institutional investors, and corporates. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), designed to end poverty, save the planet, and ensure prosperity by 2030, offer a focal point for new players to get involved and for existing donors to revise their frameworks. None of these actors, traditional or new, can achieve truly inclusive economic systems on their own. Success will demand collaboration, often among uneasy bedfellows. It cannot be business as usual.

The good news is that the past quarter century has ushered more than a billion people out of poverty. This achievement—the result of human ingenuity, resilience, and enterprise—gives reason for optimism.

The bad news is that too many people remain excluded. When women, youth, small farmers, urban slum dwellers, refugees, indigenous peoples, and others are left out of the economy, everybody loses. The excluded cannot contribute to the economy as consumers nor as workers.

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Praise for the Book

Great economic progress has been made over the past 30 years, lifting millions our of poverty. Delivering inclusive growth that sustains these gains and continues progress requires more than business as usual. This book sets out a fresh, clear vision for the partnerships, financial innovation, and new approaches we need to deliver quality public services, productive jobs, and gender quality, and do development differently.—Alix Peterson Zwane, Chief Executive Officer, Global Innovation Fund

In Access for All, Brigit Helms lays out both a call to action and a playbook for building inclusive economies. She explores the why and the how in layperson’s terms—offering a way forward to help millions build a pathway out of poverty. Here’s hoping that policy makers, international development experts, and, frankly, anyone who cares about building a more equitable global economy, read this book.—Randall Kemper, Executive Director, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs

Brigit Helms has done it again. At a time when clear, compelling, and practical know-how is urgently needed to show that “leave no one behind” is not just a slogan but an attainable goal, this book emerges. It puts the individual and communities at the center of economic development, using the original and still relevant framework presented in the original Access for All book back in 2006. By tracing two pathways out of poverty—access to services and jobs—this new book offers a snapshot of cutting-edge knowledge of how to build inclusive economic systems. And three years after the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, it unequivocally demonstrates how the private sector can be, must be, and is indeed often a force for good.—Alexia Latortue, Managing Director of Corporate Strategy, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

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