Energy is necessary for the industrialization and economic development of all nations, and according to the World Bank, it is also a key component to reducing poverty. Some 600 million people in Africa still don’t have access to electricity, which means they have limitations on things that industrialized nations take for granted. They don’t have refrigerators to store food, their main activities are mostly limited to daylight hours, and they still have to carry their water and collect wood and other biomass fuels by hand. All of these factors force them to solely focus on their day-to-day survival and restrict their time, their potential to learn, and their ability to develop and work their way out of poverty.
All eyes have been on China, with one fifth of the world’s population, the second largest economy in the world, and an annual GDP growth rate of ~10%. However, in tandem with such tremendous growth there has been a parallel increase in social and environmental challenges. From excessive coal burning and dangerous levels of pollution (to the point where it is affecting the ability to attract employees in large cities), to huge income disparities and migrant worker challenges as workers flee to the cities to earn a livelihood but do not have the legal right to reside in those cities.
The good news is that the Chinese government is recognizing the important role that nonprofits, and to a lesser extent companies, can play in addressing some of these social issues. There are encouraging signs that the government wants to involve more social resources to resolve social problems together.
We have created a “Top Trends” list based on our knowledge and the experiences of our clients.