The opening of the Africa Shared Value Summit Initiative held in Nairobi for the first time attracted throngs of CEOs most of them from private sectors in Kenya. Themed Africa’s Business Growth – Grounded in Collaboration, delegated from across Africa and leaders of businesses in the country had yesterday gathered at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi in a two-day conference to advocate for the implementation of the Shared Value business model on the African continent.
Shared Value concept has gained popularity in recent years as more businesses begin to question their role in improving livelihoods and uplifting communities. It is termed as a management strategy in which companies find business opportunities in social problems through products addressing unserved or underserved customers, changing practices in the value chain to drive productivity and improving the available skills, supplier base, and supporting institutions in the communities where a company operates.
Among the notable speakers included world-renowned Harvard economist Mark Kramer who is the author of influential publications on shared value, Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore, Nzioka Waita, Chief of Staff & Delivery Unit Head at the Office of the President, Joshua Oigara KCB CEO and Jeremy Awori CEO Barclays Bank Kenya.
Speaking during the summit, President’s Chief of staff highlighted the need for businesses, civil society and public sectors to work together in order for shared value to help address social-economic challenges, pointing out that corruption has to be rooted out of businesses first.
“There is significant scope for Government and the business community to jointly unlock shared value. This can only happen if we tackle the obstacles including surrendering short term profiteering for long term growth, willingness to reconfigure the approach to intellectual property rights in healthcare and food security and addressing the role that business plays in encouraging corruption,” said Nzioka.
Safaricom among the key sponsors of the initiative challenged businesses to do more in fighting social inequalities which degrade the quality of life and the communities from which they derive profits
According to Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore businesses can contribute to this initiative this by addressing corruption within their ranks, paying taxes responsibly and transparently, tackling inequalities in the workplace and adopting inclusive business approaches.
“We also cannot avoid or evade taxes and then take the high road of criticizing the corrupt or poor government services while still aiming to tackle inequalities in the workplace. Let’s seriously think about how to create employment for the youth, how we can do businesses more with women-led firms and the SME sector,” he said.