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Business Leaders Discuss Mutual Prosperity at ILC

Africa/Europe/Middle East—A webinar of the International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED), a UPF project, was the final session of ILC 2020 organized by UPF of Africa and UPF of Europe and the Middle East.

The session “Perspectives from Business Leaders,” held on September 13, 2020, was titled “Creating Mutual Prosperity—the Essential Role of Private Enterprise and the Rule of Law to Rebuild Economies and Grow Employment.”

The IAED session led directly into the Closing Session of the International Leadership Conference.

The moderator of the IAED webinar was Dr. Lilian Lem Atanga from Cameroon, the chair of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages at the University of Bamenda.

The speakers were:

Professor Fatou Sarr Sow from Senegal, the president of the African Network for Support to Women's Entrepreneurship

Joseph Makamba Busha from Zimbabwe, founder and group chief executive officer of the JM Busha Investment Group

Dr. Arben Malaj from Albania, former minister of finance and minister of economy

Dan Catarivas from Israel, chairman of the Israel-EU Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Dr. Thomas McDevitt from the United States, the chairman of The Washington Times and the HJ Magnolia Global Foundation

The first speaker, Professor Fatou Sarr Sow, the founder and director of the Gender and Scientific Research Laboratory at the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal, spoke about the difficulties that businesses run by women face in African nations.

“The businesses that interest me are the so-called informal ones, since I run a women’s organization in this sector,” she said. “They are mainly in agricultural production, food processing, catering, clothing, hairdressing, trade, crafts, services. … With COVID-19, some activities have slowed down and many have gone bankrupt. These micro-enterprises are confronted with … inappropriate legislation, unfair competition, difficult access to finance, corruption, poor access to technologies.”

She cited various studies that showed a link between gender equality and economic growth.

Professor Sow said: “Africa’s future depends on how the issue of women is addressed. This is why public policies must support women’s businesses, which are predominantly in the ‘informal’ sector.”

Zimbabwean businessman Joseph Makamba Busha in his presentation said the key ingredients of mutual prosperity are: peace, oneness, and shared values; rule of law; property rights; and income security.

When these four ingredients are present, he said, “Private enterprises create not only jobs (employment) but personal value (financial security). They are the foundation on which great economies are built.

“Successful private enterprises thrive on the rule of law and property rights, including intellectual property and innovations.”

Professor Dr. Arben Malaj from Albania, a former minister of finance and economy and the president of the Institute on Public Policy and Good Government, began his presentation by saying, “Peace is a precondition for prosperity, but without prosperity we can’t provide sustainable peace.”

He continued: “To eliminate conflicts and to work together for peace and prosperity would be the priority not just for political leaders but also for academics, private business and our society.”

Dr. Malaj outlined the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the economy: declining consumption, declining investment, increasing government expenditure, and declining net exports. He also mentioned the spike in uncertainty and capital flight.

In reaction to the pandemic, he said, we must find a balance between protecting people through lockdowns and supporting economic and social life.

The challenges ahead, Dr. Malaj said, are:

  1. Public credibility—reforms against corruption and state capture
  2. Private business—reduce the costs of COVID-19 and restart economies
  3. Use monetary and fiscal policies carefully
  4. Economic and political environment should not increase uncertainties and instability
  5. Structural reforms—to promote more competition and a vibrant economy—are more effective than monetary and fiscal policy.

Dan Catarivas, the chairman of the Israel-EU Chamber of Commerce and Industry, addressed the role of the private sector in bringing people together and strengthening peace, understanding, and mutual benefit.

“There is no question that the COVID-19 has demonstrated how interdependent the world is and how no one can actually solve his own problem or concentrate only on his own problem,” he said.

“The world is a small place. Everybody is connected to each other. If we don’t work together and act together, then we cannot overcome the problem.”

Mr. Catarivas said: “The post-COVID era is going to be different from the pre-COVID era. Definitely the world is changing, and we have to adapt to it.”

The private sector has become conscious “that it has to take responsibility and not just concentrate on making money. Making money is not bad, but more and more around the world the business community definitely feels that it also has a social responsibility … for bringing people together and contributing to better stability, to better prosperity.”

He continued: “The idea that business is a very important vehicle for bringing people together, working together, acting together – this is something that will promote more understanding.”

Mr. Catarivas said: “It is important to use the economic vehicle and technology as a promoter of peace and prosperity. … People working together is the best way to create prosperity and promote peace and understanding.”

Dr. Thomas McDevitt, the chairman of The Washington Times, addressed the webinar through a pre-recorded message.

He explained that IAED seeks “to build a network of business, government and economic thought leaders committed to driving economic development toward establishing a global environment of interdependence and mutual prosperity.”

“We do this in three ways: Number one is professional development and thought leadership. We want to provide the best content that can inspire and motivate young entrepreneurs and seasoned veterans, like many of you, to take hold of the role of business and the question of purpose of economy, the purpose of wealth and that our businesses can make a difference in society. …

“We think that it is a time of international synergy like a grand strategy with global awakening of how we all fit together. …

“Number two, building a community and network. We bring each other together, we can cross-fertilize, we can learn from one another, do business with each other.

“And, most important, create a community, a network … [in] every country, of people like yourselves who ascribe to that value perspective that life is more than just what you see in the physical realm and we really are responsible for future generations.”

Dr. McDevitt referred to UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon’s statement that the problems of the world cannot be solved by human efforts alone.

“We need to realize that there is a Creator,” he said.

“Greater than all [the] technology in the physical realm of change, there is a great revolution of the human spirit that is taking place beyond race, beyond religious boundaries, beyond national ethnic boundaries.

“It’s not just in the faith arena or the mental consciousness arena. It also involves business, it involves politics, culture, media, youth, women, academics. We have to transform culture, which is upstream from politics. And we have to do it together. We are truly a global family under one Creator.”

ILC Closing Session

The IAED session was followed by the ILC’s Closing Session. UPF-Russia Secretary General Maria Nazarova, as the moderator, introduced several leaders of UPF and its affiliated organizations who offered closing remarks.

Dr. Michael Balcomb, the group chair for Europe and the Middle East of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), an organization that is affiliated with UPF, gave a presentation titled “What Have We Learned?”

He started by saying, “One thing we have learned is that Africa and Europe make great partners!” He added, “One thing we have learned is that we do better when we’re working together.”

The main points of his presentation were “Peace Is Everyone’s Responsibility,” “Peace Is My Responsibility” (“It can’t be left to the ‘professionals’”), “Peace Starts with Me,” and “Peace Is Beyond Human Effort Alone.”

Speaking about why the Universal Peace Federation was founded, he listed the “external” reasons: to create partnerships and alliances for peace; to support the success and address the shortcomings of the United Nations; and to start innovative peace projects such as World Summits and the Peace Road.

He added the “internal” component: to promote the family as the cornerstone of peace; to acknowledge the fundamental limitations of human effort and capability; and to be humble before God (but not advocating for any particular faith).

Dr. Balcomb read the words of UPF co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, spoken at UPF’s 2005 inauguration: “Heaven is summoning you to be the wise leaders who will set aright this world of evil and establish a new heaven and new earth, a new culture and an ideal kingdom.”

Dr. Balcomb commented: “These [words] are a battle cry to a spiritual battle but also a diplomatic battle, a peace battle – to be wise leaders who will set aright this world of evil. Yes, we have to be honest about the state of the world we live in. Not to be afraid of it but to recognize that there is a need for lasting and profound change.

“I think that’s exactly what we’ve been doing in this International Leadership Conference. We have indeed set aside the barriers of our race, our nation, our language, and we have joined together in a commitment to be peacebuilders.”

Jacques Marion, the UPF regional president for Europe and the Middle East, then read the proposed resolution of the International Leadership Conference, which recommended a working committee for each of the UPF-related associations.

Dr. Katsumi Otsuka, the UPF chair for Europe and the Middle East, expressed his thanks to all the participants and his deep appreciation for all the staff who had worked for the success of the three-day conference.

Katherine Rigney, the UPF chair for Africa, recognized Dr. Bakary Camara, the African group chairman for FFWPU, as the main force behind many peacemaking efforts in Africa.

She said, “In order for all of us to experience happiness, we must solve the problem of our ignorance of God, our Heavenly Parent, and His providence. …

“The age we are in at this moment is a time of extreme change for humanity, like almost no other time in human history,” she said. “Therefore, a new dialogue must begin, and we must search for solutions that heretofore have not been part of our dialogue worldwide. We must experience a necessary revolution of the human spirit, and now is that time.”

Mrs. Rigney concluded by saying: “We must become active members of this world family and participate in the important discussions that can truly change our world. [This is] a time of spiritual emphasis that can bring us together as one human family under one Creator. And that is God.”

Closing Session moderator Mrs. Nazarova then announced: “We conclude our conference, and at the same time we open the door to a whole new level of development for the Universal Peace Federation. Fifteen years is just the beginning!”

To go back to the executive summary for the Africa-EUME ILC, click here.

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