Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

We rise together: Collaboration and Africa’s economic future

The key to business sustainability is changing how we think about competition and partnership. The business landscape is beginning to shift away from the traditional competition model, especially in Africa, to a form of capitalism that involves more collaboration. When it comes to making a positive impact on the world, of course, there is immense power in joining forces to create collective impact at a scale far beyond what any one company could achieve alone.

One of the three pillars of the shared value business model is enabling local cluster development, which the shared value initiative defines as “improving the available skills, supplier base, and supporting institutions in the communities where a company operates to boost productivity, innovation, and growth”. In a nutshell, this is the development of and investment in the shared value ecosystem.

In order to implement shared value successfully throughout the value chain, a business must work with the communities in which it operates, the nongovernmental organisations that have the knowledge and experience to guide purpose-driven policy implementation, and the government entities responsible for regulation and maintaining the infrastructure essential to normal business operations.

The shared value approach is one that adapts easily to the African context, where seeing opportunity in the midst of struggle has become an accepted part of our business DNA. In many countries where social issues are unavoidable, it is a natural next step for businesses to ask: “How can we make a difference?” With a shared value strategy, social responsibility does not have to come at the expense of profit. Africa is a continent of entrepreneurs, a place where people don’t just see need but work to meet that need, whether it is social, environmental, or a combination of the two. By investing in the world around it, business is investing in its own sustainable future.

Just as this is true within the context of a single business’s environment, so it rings true on a larger scale. Each of the 54 countries on the African continent is faced with its own unique blend of challenges and a diverse array of cultures, but in order to move the continent forward it is essential to build a continent-wide ecosystem.

This will not only support economic growth but also allow businesses to amplify their impact through partnerships across border lines.

Businesses in Africa can learn a lot from each other, rather than looking to the so-called First World for inspiration, but there is often a disconnect that makes it difficult to share ideas and translate business models into different countries.

Purpose-driven business can be the engine that drives Africa’s rise to become an economic powerhouse in the 21st Century. The Africa Shared Value Summit is committed to spreading this message, creating awareness of and advocating for the widespread adoption of the shared value business model in Africa.

It is therefore unsurprising that this year’s summit will see the launch of the shared value Africa initiative — Africa’s most powerful shared value business network. It is up to African businesses to become proactive, to lay claim to their potential and empower this continent and its people to succeed.

Visit to find out more

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and receive a 40% discount on our annual rate..

Related stories


Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: Zanele Mbuyisa — For the love of people-centred...

She’s worked on one of the biggest class-action cases in South Africa and she’s taken on Uber: Zanele Mbuyisa speaks to Athandiwe Saba about advocating for the underrepresented, getting ‘old’ and transformation in the law fraternity

Update: Standard Bank rejects climate proposal

Climate considerations are pressing Standard Bank shareholders to push for the recusal of those with fossil fuel ties.

More top stories

Cali protests herald brewing class war

Colombia’s general anti-tax strike has turned into a mass protest movement and become violent, writes Laura Brown

ANC suspends more than Ace

The governing party suspends usual procedure as weekend chaos escalates, and we suspend our disbelief about vaccine access

Wildlife farming vs Creecy’s panel

The departments of environment and agriculture legislation are at odds over modifying the genes of wild animals

Drugs and alcohol abuse rage in crime stats

Substance abuse has emerged as a reason for the spike in crimes during the first quarter of 2021.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…