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UK 'Business Call To Action' Event Fights Poverty

Business Summit Aims To Fight Poverty

Gordon Brown is welcoming more than 80 CEOs from some of the world's largest companies to London to showcase new business initiatives to reduce poverty in the developing world.

The Business Call to Action event will highlight initiatives by more than a dozen global companies, including Citi, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Microsoft, Sumitomo Chemical, Thomson Reuters and Vodafone - with a view to inspiring others to do the same.

More than a dozen global companies are announcing new initiatives this morning. The PM hopes that more will sign up in the run-up to the United Nations summit in September.

Government officials from DFID will be 'live blogging' the proceedings at today's meeting, and invite you to send your own thoughts and contributions.

Development Secretary Douglas Alexander then wants your questions for a live webchat in Downing Street on Wednesday 7 May at 13:00 BST.

Over the next five years, the initiatives are expected to save almost half a million lives, create thousands of jobs, and benefit millions of poor people across Africa and Asia.

The programme is part of a concerted push to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that will enable poor people to access up to the minute information, money and business expertise as well as creating new business and employment opportunities.

Mr Brown said that this year must be a "year of action" if the development emergency is to be tackled.

"We know without an extraordinary effort we will fail, and to get the Millennium Development Goals back on track we will need everyone to play their part.

"Today's event is about enlisting the support and expertise of global business to develop new and innovative ways to spread growth, prosperity and opportunity in poor countries across the world."

President John Kufuor of Ghana and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda will also attend before having proivate meetings with the PM.

At the UN in July 2007, the PM made a Call to Action to governments, businesses, NGOs and faith groups to focus resources and effort on delivering the MDGs by 2015.

ENDS

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