Profit With Purpose Leaves No-One Behind
Creating Shared Value is Vital for Africa’s Economic Recovery
“Africa Unity starts with you and I, recognising each other as brothers and sisters, irrespective of whether we speak Swahili, Portuguese, French or English…respecting each other and doing away with our colonial past that ONLY respects that which comes from the outside and is prejudice based. To a large extent we are getting this right, but we are moving too slow because we are blocked by our inability to see value in people that are not members of our private exclusive clubs.”
– Prof Mthunzi Mdwaba
The 2021 Africa Shared Value Leadership summit for me personally, has been insightful and inspiring, and yet sometimes sad as we still live in a world ruled by inequality. It was energising to be able to connect face to face again, yet the “emptiness” in the room – with masked individuals – did reflect and remind us once again that COVID is still with us.
For our 5th year of the Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit (ASVLS), the organising committee decided upon the theme- One Africa One Voice – not only for 2021 but for all future ASVLSs. We as leaders – young and old – need to create the African narrative and drive our own African agendas. To do this we need unity. Unity that is still eluding Africa even after a decision was made 58 years ago in Addis Abba to create Pan-Africanism, which centred on and promoted African unity and intensified cooperation action towards development.
One Africa, One Voice – is about uniting us all with one voice and, most of all, it is about being the voice for those voices that are silent; those that do not have the power nor the freedom or platform to raise their voices. These are voice of our women and children, our young people that cannot get jobs, our employees that are too scared to speak up, and our informal sector that is not getting enough support from their governments and private sector. One Africa, One Voice represents both the ones holding the power and the ones needing the support, it is voice of all the voices.
The 5th summit created a platform for our young entrepreneurs, who joined us from countries all across Africa. The work, drive, energy, and enthusiasm shared by these young voices – as our future leaders – was truly inspirational and I personally feel that the future of Africa is in good hands
Mark Kramer once again pointed out that we have a responsibility to change the system. A system that was created hundreds of years ago, before we knew about the devastating effects of climate change, or about the future population growth and its enormous challenges, or even about a pandemic that caused more than 4 million deaths and that touched every individual, every country, and every company worldwide.
We need to throw out all of our assumptions: assumptions about our own continent, assumptions about each other, the assumption that Africa is poor and always will be, the assumption that for Africa to develop we need to be more like the West, assumptions that we are not good enough, the assumption that whatever comes from outside Africa is better than what we have here, and the assumption that in order to make money businesses need to put people and planet aside and focus on profit only.
Business can be the agent for change for the nearly overwhelming problems we face today and businesses can and need to profitably address our social and environmental issues.
It was world-renowned architect Becky Fuller who said : You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, we need to build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
As a collective, we need build that new model, and that starts with changing our own thinking and attitudes. A new model that sees us, as a collective, take the AfCFTA – supporting it and using it, and growing intra-Africa trade, a new model that is based on economic inclusion, a business model that supports young businesses,a model that embraces gender equality, a new model that is not stooped in old thinking, and a new model that creates equality and an environment where we create trust and intentionally leave no one behind.
The summit was inspiring and led by speakers young and old – Thought Leaders that shared insights, who raised thoughts on how we can drive economic recovery and change. Change that needs to happen now, as we do not have the luxury of time. Yes, time is running out and our people and our planet is suffering. We need to make the change.
If you missed out on the summit and could not join us, please visit our YouTube channel that will provide more insights and food for thought on building the future of our Shared Value Africa.
Founder & CEO