Growth And Equality

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Growth And Equality: The building blocks of a sustainable future

Growth is not the only necessity for a prosperous economic future; without gender parity and equality, growth will not be achievable.

On 8 and 9 November, the Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI) will be delivering the 5th annual Africa Share Value Leadership Summit. The theme is One Africa One Voice, and during the 2 days, Africa’s business leaders will share views, insights and learnings, and these discussions will include a focus on growth and equality.  

Two Sides Of The Same Coin: Growth And Equity

As business leaders, when we talk about growth, we are clear in referring to economic growth and we all know the importance of growth not only in building sustainable organisations. We need to grow markets; grow demand for our products and services; grow shareholder value; grow a reliable supply chain; grow investors; grow our talent pool; grow our assets and much more.

Let’s look at Africa’s results on the growth path since we started grappling with COVID in 2020. A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report released on 7 September, indicates that South Africa’s asset management market grew by 14% in 2020, topping regional and global growth rates. South Africa’s growth rate was higher than that of North America, the world’s largest asset management region, which saw its growth for 2020 at 12%.

Moving to West Africa, Ghana’s cocoa bean production recorded in the  2020-21 season, a 45% increase on the year before – topping the record of 1 million tons achieved in the 2009-10 season. The Ghana Cocoa Board attributed this successful harvest to the implementation of programmes such as increased irrigation, hand pollination and rehabilitation of old and diseased-infected farms.

Nigeria’s youth received some good news on September 13th. The Ford Foundation and MacArthur Foundation announced the launch of the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund (NYFF), a new $5 million fund that will support and strengthen the youth leadership ecosystem in Nigeria. The new fund hopes to raise $15 million and will increase leadership capacity, enhance educational opportunities, and build relationships between youth leaders and regional governments. The NYFF will build on momentum in the region inspired by the youth-led #EndSARS movement.

In Senegal, a mobile money start-up, Wave, has raised $200 million in a Series A funding round, at a $1.7 billion valuation, and became the Francophone region’s first unicorn. Another initiative and innovation created by 2 young entrepreneurs from America that saw the potential in Africa.

Good news for Africa as the UNGC announced its new Africa Strategy on September 20TH at the UNGC Business Forum. A strategy that aims to  advance corporate sustainability and scale up responsible business practices across the continent in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The strategy focuses on five thematic areas: Gender Equity, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Climate Action, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and Partnerships.

Solutions can be created for the challenges we face as a society. As Shared Value advocates, we lobby for system change and relooking old, outdated businesses strategies. We motivate and encourage a mind shift to value creation and adopting and implementing the Shared Value Business Management concept, finding profitable business solutions in social challenges, and accelerating organisational and economic growth.

Gender parity and equality should be part of any business strategy, the same way that growth is. We know that leaders, across all sectors, have the power to implement change and to consciously address equality in their respective organisations. Gender parity in the workplace is no longer a choice; it is a necessity for future sustainability. Why some leaders are lagging behind is beyond justification and an even bigger question is, where is the guidance of a board that should be insisting on change at an employment equity level?

Various types of equity need to be implemented into every sphere and space of business and society. Inequality is everywhere and with COVID health equity is crucial, but we do not all have the opportunity to get the best health care. Many social and environmental factors limit a person’s access and continued use of good health practices and healthcare. Additional obstacles to equality include racial and gender discrimination, lack of access to quality education, income and wealth gaps, unsafe environments to name a few.

Inequality, like many societal ills, has escalated during COVID, and we all have a responsibility as Shared Value practitioners to commit to growth that is equitable and that leaves no one behind. Growth that sees the creation of equality in the workplace. Growth that creates prosperity for all and that lead to equality and equity that will improve the lives of all stakeholders and not only shareholders.

The 2021 Africa Share Value Leadership Summit will be hosted as a hybrid event out of Johannesburg and broadcast across the continent. We took note that during these challenging times not all people in our community will be able to link in on both days and we curated two sessions per day (2.5 hours per session). Visit our website, select your sessions, and join us on November 8 and 9th






 Founder & CEO