Social enterprises, not mere charities, are more likely to drive Africa’s development agenda, Mohamed Farhoud, a Doctoral Researcher from the Gordon Institute of Business Science – a leading South African Business School – has said.
“In Africa, the political climate will not allow philanthropic or social correction,” Farhoud said in a recent statement.
A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being
Social enterprises can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit, and may take the form of a co-operative, a mutual organization, a social business, a benefit corporation or a community interest company.
Though many African governments have pushed for policies that seek to cut reliance on charities, the pace at which nations achieve financial independence is often slow.
“Charity quietens the crowd and so most welcomed,” Farhoud, who studied at the University of Pretoria – one of the top research institutions in Africa – explained.
He stated that market-based Social Enterprises are therefore immensely important to Africa’s welfare.
Farhoud’s argument comes at a time when social enterprises are fast becoming popular across the African continent. Organisations like Living Goods, non-profit organization operating in Uganda, Kenya, and Myanmar, already employ more than 7,000 people as community health promoters due to their tactful approach to tackling poverty and unemployment.
Social entrepreneurship has gained so much traction in recent months, that those driving its adoption are already being recognized for their contributions to economic growth and development in Africa.
In April, 2017, nine individuals representing seven organizations, all with operations in sub-Saharan Africa, were recognized as Social Entrepreneurs of the Year by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a non-profit entity that provides platforms at the country, regional and global levels to promote social entrepreneurship.
Farhoud implies that though philanthropy is a step in the right direction, funds should be directed towards empowerment so that those in need can get a hand-up, instead of a hand-out.
“We should approach our problems as business, not charity,” he said.