When the member states of the United Nations adopted the Millennium Declaration in 2000, they set themselves binding goals for poverty reduction and environmental protection. These goals are to be attained by the year 2015. At the centre is the reduction of poverty worldwide. Not only governments, but organizations of the civil society and enterprises are called upon to help achieving these goals.
Despite considerable progress in economic and social development in some countries, the large majority of the world population is still living in poverty. Many individuals are unable to use the opportunities provided by globalization. Unfavourable political and economic conditions in the countries themselves as well as detrimental international trade relations are the reasons for this. Structural distortions at national and global level have negative repercussions for the rural areas, in particular, and lead to migration from the countryside or the country itself. They cause problems for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which are an important factor in any prosperous economy. Such businesses are often without access to financial services, agricultural inputs and marketing opportunities, new technologies and know-how. However, inadequate resource allocations are only part of the problem. Legal security, transparent government action (good governance) and an economic order that ensures equal opportunities and a level playing field for all those who wish to start a business are particularly important for MSMEs to thrive.