LeapFrog is the world’s first investment fund to focus on the insurance needs of low-income and financially excluded people. Launched by President Clinton and hailed by The Wall Street Journal and Private Equity International, LeapFrog has opened a new frontier for social investment and microfinance. Andy founded LeapFrog in January 2007, inspired by his extensive experience enabling entrepreneurs in emerging markets, and then co-built the firm with a team of former CEOs and pioneers in emerging markets insurance. Andy is a former Managing Director of Ashoka, which has financed and connected 2000 social entrepreneurs in over 60 countries. He worked with both Grameen and BRAC, the world's largest microfinance institutions, to market their social ventures. He also co-founded Kuper Research, which designed The Daily Sun, now sub-Saharan Africa's largest newspaper, with 5 million daily readers. Born and raised in South Africa, Andy is a serial social entrepreneur and author of books including Democracy Beyond Borders (Oxford) and Global Responsibilities (Routledge). He holds a PhD from Cambridge, where he was supervised by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, who first stimulated Andy’s interest in market-based solutions to poverty.
Question: How do you regulate multinational corporations?
Andrew Kuper: I don’t believe profit is bad, I believe profit is good but the invisible hand of the market has to be in a thick glove or regulation. And that glove has to be appropriate, it has to be flexible, but it, nonetheless, has to be in place.
And I often think that by excluding corporations, all you do is encourage them to undermine attack going around the system, I’m a believer that it’s better them in the system, have a transparent and regulate them and have other actors there like nonprofits that can disclose what’s going on like states that are engaged in regulation than to have them outside.
And this is particularly true in the world we live in because there was a study that showed that of the 100 most powerful economic entities, 51 are corporations, 49 are states. So people are living in a dream world, I’m not sure if it’s ever true but it’s certainly not true now, that states have just simply the power to go out, regulate and control multinational corporations simply. We’re going to have to accept that this is a more complex world and that… how you regulate and manage corporations is by having multiple stakeholders and having them at the table.
Recorded on: May 1, 2009