The third annual Africa Shared Value Summit, a development-focused event, has called on African businesses to take action for profit with purpose.
The event took place last week in Nairobi, Kenya, the first time the event has come to East Africa. The diverse programme of thought leaders engaged a packed hall of delegates with thought-provoking insights and Shared Value case studies over the two days.
The Summit was sponsored by local telecommunications giant Safaricom, as well as Old Mutual, Enel Green Power, Absa, KCB and the World Food Programme.
Founder and CEO of Summit organisers the Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI), Tiekie Barnard, opened the Summit with strong words for the African business community.
“We as a collective have a responsibility to run sustainable businesses that grow our economy and bring about change to the people whose lives we touch,”
“A really sustainable competitive advantage comes from picking the particular customer segment you want to serve and designing every activity in your organisation to serve their needs better than anyone else,” ,” noted keynote speaker Mark Kramer, co-creator of the business concept and MD at consulting firm, FSG, in his opening plenary address.
The Summit’s theme, ‘Africa’s Business Growth – Grounded in Collaboration’, was reflected in the message shared by many of the speakers.
“We can compete for profit, and collaborate for purpose,” noted Moses Muthui, Country Strategy Director of Barclays Bank of Kenya on the second day of the Summit.
Muthui emphasized the need to invest in the industrialization of Africa in order to promote growth, create jobs and enable us to navigate increasing urbanisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
As with previous years, the UN Sustainable Development Goals were a theme at the Summit, underlining their usefulness in focusing a business’s purpose and providing tangible goals that business can contribute to achieving as a collective.
“We believe that the Sustainable Development Goals provide the opportunity to really engage in a purpose-driven business, and business that is both sustainable and inclusive,” said Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom.
At the end of the Summit, it was announced that the 2020 Africa Shared Value Summit will take place in Kigali, Rwanda.