Private Sector Forum



20 September, 12:00 - 14:00
Cipriani 42nd Street

Since 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has convened the UN Private Sector Forum during the opening session of the General Assembly in order to bring the voice of the private sector to inter-governmental negotiations on key topics.

This year the UN Private Sector Forum is being organized as the high-level luncheon of the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit. The Forum will focus on the role of the private sector in the post-2015 development agenda, with an emphasis on unique opportunities and challenges in Africa.

The event is designed to maximize interaction, increase understanding of efforts underway and generate a range of ideas and commitments from the private sector to build a sustainable future with a specific focus on African markets and societies.


  • Create a shared understanding of the role of the private sector in Africa to advance corporate sustainability as a way to achieve a shared, secure and sustainable future
  • Provide a platform for the public and private sectors to share ideas, discuss the efforts they are undertaking and announce new commitments to action - individually and in partnership
  • Demonstrate the role of business in contributing to the sustainable development agenda and communicate recommendations to governments from the private sector.
  • Inspire new public-private partnerships to overcome systemic challenges in Africa


Following an opening address by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and brief keynote remarks over lunch, participants will engage in roundtable discussions. Participants will be seated at tables of 10 with leaders from business, civil society, Government and the UN for the duration of the meeting. The event will conclude with a report-back plenary session and the announcement of new commitments to action.


Participants are invited to select their preferred discussion theme in advance of the event and will receive relevant briefing materials ahead of the Forum. The following four themes will be the focus of this year's event:

Employment and Inclusive Growth

Each year, some 30 million young people in Africa start looking for work, and this number will increase even further in the coming years. The African Union Commission has made the creation of more and better jobs one of its key priorities. As the main driver of job creation, there are a number of actions business can take to make the sustainable creation of decent and productive jobs a reality, including investing in inclusive business models, vocational training and local economic development. Governments can support business to drive job creation through an enabling policy environment, investments in infrastructure and incentives, and creating space for public-private dialogue and collaboration. This discussion will focus on how Governments and the private sector can partner to spur the creation of more and better jobs, especially for women and young people. Read the Thematic Briefing Note.
Leading Agencies: ILO, UNDP


The development of transferrable knowledge and skills, such as teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving, is vital to prepare young people for the workplace and for life. However, current educational and training provisions are inadequate to effectively support young people as they transition from school to work, contributing to high rates of unemployment. While young people make up 37% of the working-age population in Africa, they represent 60% of the total unemployed population. This depth of exclusion has major implications for economic growth and social stability. The discussion will focus on how the public and private sectors can partner to strengthen education and training systems so that they better equip young people, especially young women, with the technical and social skills and competencies needed for employment and inclusive economic growth. Read the Thematic Briefing Note.
Leading Agencies: UNESCO

Women's Empowerment

In Africa, as in all other regions, there are significant gains to be had from achieving women’s full participation in the economy and society. Women’s empowerment is increasingly recognized as a crucial driver of sustainable development. The African Union has declared 2010-2020 to be the Decade of African Women and has called on Governments to implement policies and practices to advance and empower women. All societal actors have a role to play in achieving gender equality —including the private sector as the engine of job growth, innovation, capital creation and investment. This discussion will focus on how the public and private sectors can partner to expand and support women’s entrepreneurship in Africa, including in the value chain, to fuel inclusive and sustainable business, economies and societies. Read the Thematic Briefing Note.
Leading Agency: UN Global Compact

Innovative and Sustainable Finance

Innovative and sustainable finance has the potential to be a driving force for growth in Africa. Continuing fiscal pressures confronting donors are profoundly changing traditional international development capital flows, and evolving non-traditional mechanisms to raise funds for development present an enormous opportunity. Africa, as well as its partners, must be more innovative in mobilizing resources from new sources, including the private sector. New instruments and emerging technologies can leverage private investment to expand financial inclusion and positively impact banking, payments, mobile money and transfers. This discussion will focus on how the public and private sectors can partner to promote sustainable development through innovative and sustainable finance mechanisms, particularly those which tap into and diversify traditional sources of development finance for Africa. Read the Thematic Briefing Note.
Leading Agencies: African Development Bank, African Business Magazine


A maximum of 350 high-level participants are expected from both the public and private sectors - including Heads of State/Government, CEOs, and leaders from civil society, foundations and the UN.


The United Nations Global Compact is calling for commitments to action from the private sector in advance of the UN Private Sector Forum: Africa (20 September 2013). By making a commitment to action in support of UN goals and issues, companies can demonstrate leadership towards promoting the post-2015 development agenda. Read more.


The UN Global Compact Office led the organization of this year's Forum, in close cooperation with the African UnionAfrican Business Magazine; African Development Bank; International Labour Organization (ILO); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).