Building a sustainable future through creating value for all
Africa is a continent brimming with limitless potential. The Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI) is committed to making the most of this potential, through the implementation of profit-with-purpose models that will drive social progress and create shared value for everyone involved. With a strategic focus on issues like entrepreneurs, climate action, technology and gender equality, the SVAI is committed to finding African-driven solutions to Africa’s challenges.
Our mission? To build Africa’s most impactful network of businesses committed to purposeful growth: one that propels economic prosperity and sustainability across the continent. As CEO Tiekie Barnard puts it in the SVAI’s latest 2022 Impact & Activities Report: “The future of our continent is too important to leave to chance!”
For the past five years, the SVAI has made tremendous strides towards realising our mission – extending our footprint to 15 countries; grown understanding and implementation of shared value across various industries; and setting up the Shared Value Africa Academy for entrepreneurs and business professionals to build their skills in value creation and sustainable development outcomes. Additionally, the #ItsNotOk movement (a joint initiative of Shift Impact Africa and SVAI) has been actively participating in the GBVF National Strategic Plan while organising forums and incorporating youth voices into this important cause, as well as spearheading extensive research into gender inequality and GBVF.
In 2022 alone, the SVAI achieved a great deal, including opening an office in Kenya and partnering with the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress Africa to co-host the fifth annual Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. The 2022 Summit was an important event that united African nations under one banner: ‘One Africa, One Voice’, bringing together leaders from shared value and ICT communities across Africa and the world to collaborate and address the continent’s connectivity and digital transformation challenges. It drew an impressive crowd of 4,441 delegates from 75 different countries – 85% were African attendees, while 43% were senior-level representatives.
At the SVAI, we understand how vital universities are to fostering growth on our continent. To this end, we’ve built powerful partnerships with academic institutions like Lagos Business School, Strathmore University Business School, African Leadership University, and the University of Johannesburg, among many others – all aimed at educating future leaders about shared value creation.
In 2022, we took our GBVF and gender equality work further by collaborating with the University of Johannesburg on research studying GBV prevalence in South African workplaces, together with Mid Sweden University and KPMG South Africa. The research report, entitled The Costly Impact of GBV: Private Sector Perceptions and Realities in South Africa, was released at an event at the JSE in August 2022 – Women’s month in South Africa.
Throughout 2022, the SVAI worked hard to cultivate an understanding of shared value throughout Africa by building and cultivating collaborative networks with purpose-driven organisations. Our key activities included generating discussion platforms, hosting forums, convening discussions, webinars, and providing training for capacity building at all levels – local, continental, and global. In total, we participated in 21 events during this year, some of which we organised ourselves, such as the African Entrepreneurship Forum, various #ItsNotOk seminars, the African Universities Gender Equality Forum, and the CEO Connect Forum (this time in partnership with the Global Reporting Initiative). These engagements addressed topics including but not limited to entrepreneurial ecosystem development; gender diversity and inclusion, gender-based violence prevention, and leadership driven by a clear sense of purpose – ultimately aiming to generate trust in the value creation concept while also stimulating economic growth on the continent.
To further increase our reach, we supported and participated in partner events such as the 7th EU-Africa Business Forum, the 4th Strategic Leaders’ Summit, the Prosperity Africa Small Business Exporters’ Conference, the AU SME Development Program Partnership Platform, and the Lagos Business School’s International Sustainability Conference.
Driving impact through members
At the core of SVAI’s mission and success in creating a more sustainable and prosperous future for Africa are its member organisations. The Impact & Activities Report highlights some members from East and Southern Africa, showcasing how shared value and sustainability can drive positive change.
- Safaricom: Leading mobile money platform, M-Pesa has revolutionised financial inclusion for unbanked or low-income people in the area.
- KCB: Listed on Fortune Magazine’s Change the World List 2021, KCB is focused on growing MSMEs and female entrepreneurs, aligning their efforts with numerous SDGs.
- Sappi: A top player in wood-fibre based renewable resources with an eye towards “profit with purpose” to bring economic value as well as social benefit into society at large.
- Absa: Striving for gender equality by taking part in the #ItsNotOK campaign, among other initiatives aimed at reducing gender violence across Africa.
- Vodacom: Committed to breaking down barriers between digital and financial access, enabling citizens of all backgrounds to achieve better futures.
Over the past year, the Shared Value Africa Academy (SVAA) has been working to help African entrepreneurs create sustainability and value for their communities. Through the Shift Impact Africa
partnership programmes and CPD-accredited courses, entrepreneurs are given life-long learning opportunities that focus on shared value principles and disciplines. In addition to the Introduction to Shared Value classes, the SVAA also hosted investor-readiness workshops and Purpose Playbook Training courses.
The SVAI is committed to advancing the creation of a more equitable African society that promotes prosperity for all through its ongoing efforts. Through programmes such as the training academy, equality forums and leadership engagement, the SVAI will continue to catalyse building an empowered legion of African start-ups and future leaders capable of contributing to the growth of the continent.