One Africa One Voice

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As Africans, we need to share common recognition that all of us stand to lose if we fail to transform our continent. – Thabo Mbeki

By Tiekie Barnard, CEO and Founder, SVAI

The theme for the 2021 Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit is One Africa, One Voice.

Sadly, after unpacking the theme, conducting research and looking at the current cross-border political climate, I realised that One Africa, One Voice is a dream that, in my personal view, might never be realised. It is an ideal vision for our beautiful continent, Mama Africa and her children; but she might never hear her children speak with one voice.

It was this very challenge that inspired us to continue with One Africa, One Voice as the theme for the Summit. As Africans, we need to unite, find common ground, work together and build back better – creating economic value and value for the people of Africa.

Africa Map

Our leaders – both political and business – need to humbly admit our collective missteps and move forward in the best interest of the people and develop policies and practices that will benefit all. A greed for power and suppression has no place on the African continent as we already paid that price with colonialism and we cannot allow it to happen again. It is clear that holding on to old power and old systems is not working and will not create a sustainable future for Africa. It is now about developing a new system supported by a new power, one of collaboration, transparency and accountability. This is where we will create new ways to build a better future for Africa and its people, a future that is inclusive.

As a Shared Value advocate, I believe that all businesses, all governments and all institutions need to consciously build a system that create economic value to grow our countries and profitably address societal and environmental issues. We need a new system that ensures not only economic sustainability but also the sustainability of Africa and its people. It is no longer about a few benefitting and the rest being left behind; it is now about stakeholder capitalism. It is also about working from the inside out rather than always looking outside of Africa for solutions for Africa. We need solutions for Africa created by Africans.

The 2021 Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit includes the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the now famous Shared Value business practice. The concept was developed by Prof. Michael Porter and Prof. Mark Kramer from the Harvard Business School, and launched  with the article “Creating Shared Value” that was first published in the Harvard Business Review in 2011.

This is a concept that I personal believe is capable of creating the new system we are all looking for. It is a concept, in my opinion, that is far better suited for businesses in the developing world than the developed world. The old system in the developed world is still focused primarily on money and profit and we in Africa do not have to follow this; we need to create our own system.

Africa is young and it is agile. It is adaptable, and our young people have the right attitude to take it where it needs to be. Many of our social entrepreneurs are already creating economic value and value for society – profit with purpose.

Nothing says it more clearly than this quote from one of our youths at the Pan African Youth Forum in Tanzania in 2019: “It’s within our capabilities as young people of Africa to change the continent. We have what it takes, and it is going to take everything we have.”

Our vision for the fifth annual Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit is to bring together likeminded Africans that see the potential for the continent; where we speak up and use our voices to influence change and demand that we all create economic value and value for society. It is my prayer that, after this Summit, we will all become advocates not only for creating shared value but also to create a united Africa. As a collective, the power is in our hands to create the Africa we want, and the first step towards that is to create shared value. It is the right thing to do for Mama Africa and her children.


Shared Value Summit

Johannesburg, South Africa
8 – 9 November 2021


This year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Creating Shared Value Business Management concept.  The summit focus areas are aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and topics will include:ASVL-SDG-Wheel

  • Intra Africa trade and the benefits of the AfCFTA
  • Survival of the African Entrepreneur
  • Gender Equality and Economic Growth
  • The real meaning of inclusion in Africa