Why 25 May is Shared Value Africa Day

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The month of May is synonymous with unification, cohesion and interconnectedness… and not only because Africa Day is commemorated on 25 May. This day is also of special significance to the Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI), as we celebrate the start of our own journey three years ago.

Why 25 May is Shared Value Africa Day

Indeed, much has transpired since 25 May 2018, when we launched the SVAI at the Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit in Johannesburg together with our founding members (ABSA, Enel, Old Mutual, Safaricom and Shift Impact Africa).

Since then we have extended our Shared Value footprint into 12 countries across the continent, from the most southern tip of Africa to Ghana in West Africa and Ethiopia in East Africa, and Egypt in the North. We have successfully hosted 72 engagements that enabled us to connect with 8 100 people across 1 500+ organisations, not only in Africa by in 68 countries across the globe. Similarly, our online presence has grown exponentially with some 6 500+ followers across our social media platforms.

From five founding members in 2018, membership across the different levels have quadrupled (20) with three new members joining us this month – a warm welcome to our newest SVAI members: Exxaro, Abbott and Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy.

Equally significant has been the growth and development of our educational programmes – from only offering courses with third party academic partners, to launching SVAI’s own dedicated training resources centre this year, with the formation of the Shared Value Africa Academy.

In short, it has been a wonderful and amazing journey over the past three years. Just imagine what we can achieve in the Decade of Action that lies ahead for us to collective achieve the Sustainable Development Goals!

Looking ahead, June looks set to be a packed month for networking, virtual engagements and learning as many countries around the world start easing COVID restrictions and normalise business engagements to some degree.

Down under our sister network, the Shared Value Project, readies itself to host the 2021 Shared Value Summit Asia Pacific as a hybrid event (in person and online) on 17 June in Melbourne, Australia. Aptly themed ‘The Future We Choose’, the Summit unpacks the interdependency between social and economic prosperity, fuelled by a growing need for shared value solutions to drive socio-economic recovery.

Back home in South Africa, registration is also open for the Trialogue Business in Society Virtual Conference, which takes place on the mornings of 22, 23 and 24 June. Aligned with global focus, the event explores business and non-profit responsibility in helping to build back better, towards a more equitable, inclusive, and greener society, with emphasis on how to ensure that a lasting social compact between government, business and civil society can be forged.

On the educational and training side, our efforts in the second quarter are very much entrepreneurial-driven and women-centric.

In fact, a closed recruitment process is currently underway to identify candidates for the second Purpose Playbook Training cohort, focusing exclusively focus on women-led agribusinesses across the continent.  The five-week course will kick-off with the Shared Value Masterclass at the end of June, with 10 organisations (two representatives from each) in attendance.

As for developing our entrepreneurial network, we have already hosted a very successful second African Entrepreneurship Forum earlier this month, which will be followed by our first Investor Readiness Workshop on 10 June. This interactive session, hosted by the Shared Value Africa Academy in partnership with Three Arrows Impact, will help attendees gain a basic understanding of what it means to be investor-ready and what is required when looking for funding in the future.

Another initiative we are passionate about is our #ITSNOTOK campaign, which continues to gain momentum in May as the SVAI’s partnership with CauseDirect gets underway. CauseDirect is a community engagement platform designed to build capacity for social impact projects.

Finally, yet importantly, we have partnered with the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to develop an information-sharing app for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The app aims to help entrepreneurs, SMEs and MSMEs navigate the AfCFTA and be better prepared to take advantage of cross border trading opportunities when they come along.

As part of the scoping exercise for the application development, we are undertaking general market research to determine currently levels of awareness about the AfCFTA among young entrepreneurs and small business owners. Click here to share your views with us.

Until next month!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Africa Day observes and pays tribute to the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (now known as the African Union) on 25 May 1963. It is a time to deliberate and acknowledge African solidarity, unity in diversity, creativity, challenges and successes.