Richard Branson

Virgin avoids dictatorships

3 Feb, 2011

Branson is interviewed for CNN on doing business with Egypt:

Business needs to stand up and be counted and, you know, start, actually start and you know trading with countries that are democracies and put our forces for good … As a business, we have no dealings in Egypt, so, you know, so it was just a — just to make that absolutely clear.

On the group that he promotes to allow Tutu, Mandela and others to address global conflicts:

I think that through the organization of The Elders that we’re involved in, they have spoken out against dictatorships and repressive leaderships over the last 10 years.

Business has a role:

I actually believe that business leaders should also play a part and — and we shouldn’t leave it to politicians to speak out … it is much better, I think, for business to trade in a democracy than it is under a dictatorship.

Virgin has stayed away from other repressive regimes:

South Africa is a good example. We had many opportunities offered us in South Africa under apartheid. We turned those down. The moment apartheid was abolished, we moved in with our airline. We moved in with financial service companies. We moved in with mobile phone companies. And I’m sitting in a beautiful game reserve and other ventures. And I think that if if business can support democracies, especially fledgling democracies like Egypt, when it opens up and becomes a true democracy, that will show other countries that democracy works.

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