By Marcus Leach

The Government has urged business leaders to drive more investment into the poorest countries and use the power of the private sector to boost aid efforts.

Speaking at a conference of business leaders, International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, set out how future development projects will draw in the technology, enterprise and innovation of the private sector to improve the lives of the people in the poorest countries.

The Government will direct support to the growing band of entrepreneurs and successful businesses to help encourage more investment into the poorest countries.

The UK's support will:

- Help business start-up initiatives to kick-start ventures which create job opportunities in the poorest countries.

- Reduce the risks of investing in developing countries and increase access and knowledge of individual countries and regions.

- Increase private investment into the poorest countries. A reformed and revitalised CDC - the Government's overseas investment corporation - will invest in countries currently starved of capital. At the same time, the UK's will help raise capital on international markets to finance vaccines through the International Finance Fund for Immunisation.

- Work with the private sector to increase the use of new technology and business skills to improve the delivery of aid programmes. For example, supply chain experts will speed up the delivery of free bednets in high-burden malaria countries like Nigeria and support Bayer to develop weed-resistant maize for African farmers.

"Aid alone cannot be the answer - it is business, trade and enterprise that will stimulate the economic growth that will help the poorest lift themselves out of poverty," Andrew Mitchell said.

"Countless organisations have already shown that investing in the developing world can be good for business and good for the places where they invest.

"I am determined that we as a Government do more to facilitate this, stimulating crucial investment to where it is needed most."

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