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Calls for consensus ahead of Jo’burg Summit

Business must help ensure that the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development produces more consensus than disagreement, business leader Tokyo Sexwale said on Wednesday.

”We don’t want people to leave sad and disorganised,” he told businessmen at Midrand.

”Business must support the government to ensure that sufficient consensus is reached at the conference.”

Sexwale chairs the Business Co-ordinating Forum which has been set up to organise and promote business initiatives in preparation for the summit in Johannesburg from August 26 to September 4.

Outlining preparations for the involvement of business in the event, Sexwale called on his counterparts to actively take part in the conference. They should make their voices heard.

”Failure to be present to participate in discussions that will at times be antagonistic would render business ineffective and disorganised.

”As business, we must seize the opportunity to make specific commitments to the achievement of specific sustainable development goals.”

In doing so, South African business should lead the way for their international counterparts to make the kind of commitments needed to rid the world of poverty.

Sexwale said there were still a number of business sectors in the country that had not fully absorbed the principles of sustainability.

”These companies each has an important contribution to make in the transition to sustainable development.”

Sexwale said South African businesses should make full use of the summit to showcase their products and services. To this end, several business events parallel to the conference would be presented.

One of the organisers, Liz Hart, said these included what has been dubbed SA Business Week comprising four focused exhibitions.

These initiatives would give small and big black businesses a platform to expose their products and services to key decision-makers.

”Black empowerment companies can look forward to unprecedented opportunities for growth and development.”

Training courses were on offer for black companies lacking the necessary exhibition skills, Hart said.

Sexwale said the summit would hopefully help to realise international promises to open world markets to developing countries.

”We trust that the outcome of the summit… will for the first time deliver a real commitment to a developmental approach to world trade negotiations,” he said. – Sapa

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