Back in 2007, we wrote …

Originally published at:


Business and the Global Poor (dgAlert)

Read at <>

Business and the Global Poor

“Are the world’s poor, who individually have less than $5 a day in disposable income, a viable market for new goods and services? Consider the fact that there are four billion people around the globe that fit this description and you have the start of an answer. But businesses that want to enter this market at the bottom of the economic pyramid (BOP) must look beyond just selling products—they must find ways to create social and economic value, according to the editors of a new volume, Business Solutions for the Global Poor. Author(s): Silverthorne, S. (2007) Research & Ideas, Harvard Business School, Working Knowledge, February 5, 2007.”


Instead of even thinking of creating “a viable market for new goods and services”, shouldn’t we first take care of the malnutrition of those 4 billion people around the world ?

Instead of creating markets between the developed world and the developing one, let us first fill the food markets in the drylands, not with left overs from our wealth, but with locally produced fresh crops.

That’s real investment in sustainable development : don’t give them mobile phone technology yet, give them first all technologies needed to stop desertification, to improve food production and reforestation, and to alleviate their poverty.

No one of us ever performed well with an empty stomach, not to mention with an anemic body (lack of minerals) or an infected one (e.g. because of avitaminosis).


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.