from the world's big
Restructuring International Organizations
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 would you restructure international bodies to achieve these goals?
Andrew Kuper: I think that world bodies simply have states as part of them. You have a dynamic where one kind of agent with one kind of incentive structure is supposed to be checking and… but they’re supposed to be checking and balancing each other which as we know states like to avoid certain kinds of embarrassment, they like to do things in the green room, there are all sorts of things that can go on there.
So part of what I favor is the introduction of other kinds of entities whether these are significant groups representing nonprofits or significant groups representing business even, chambers of commerce.
I believe that having different kinds of stakeholders with different kinds of incentives at the table in these institutions can have a very profound impact, it brings different information to light, it creates incentives to take care of populations that may not, you may not have taken care of by just states or by just corporations or just NGOs for that matter. So I think that’s the first thing, now, the practical implication of that, if you look at some of the world’s courts, only states have standing, what’s called [IB] before some of those courts and if you gave other kinds of entities the ability to approach those courts, certain other things that we put on the agenda and actually those courts do have the capacity to take on many, many more cases so it is possible to introduce those different kinds of agents who can bring cases to the court and have the court deliver on that, it’s not going to overwhelm the courts.
Secondly, you could look at the UN, various kinds of bodies where I believe and this is quite a radical proposal that you should have; whether it’s the chamber of commerce that are international or non-profit bodies at the table articulating their view. And in fact, it already happens informally to a limited extent but it doesn’t have the kind of bite that it needs to have for us to have a different kind of global order that is more responsive to the needs of people.
Recorded on: May 1, 2009
The president of LeapFrog Investments recommends new ways for structuring international bodies to include all stakeholders.
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