African business leaders and entrepreneurs can unlock significant economic opportunities worth US$1 trillion in the region and US$12 trillion globally if they pursue sustainable business models. These opportunities and how to achieve them take centre stage at two events, hosted by Safaricom and Intellecap in Nairobi, to launch the African Better Business, Better World report from the Business and Sustainable Development Commission.
The Business Commission’s global report, first launched in January 2017 ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, shows how sustainable business models could open economic opportunities across 60 “hot spots” worth up to US$12 trillion and increase employment by up to 380 million jobs by 2030. More than half of the total value of the opportunities are in developing countries. In Africa alone, sustainable business models could open up an economic prize of at least US$1.1 trillion and create over 85 million new jobs by 2030.
“The world is seeing increasingly that African companies are models for what can be achieved with ingenuity and innovation as they solve difficult social challenges. They are not wedded to old solutions, so here in Kenya we see digital innovators delivering banking, energy and health solutions. The speed of innovation and adoption is astonishing,” said Mark Malloch-Brown, chair of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission. “The Better Business, Better World report launch in Nairobi puts the African private sector squarely in the drivers’ seat on the road to achieving sustainable development, and we welcome more African business leaders to join the Business Commission.”
Hosted by Safaricom, the Better Business, Better World conference, held on 23 February, brings together business leaders to build support for the Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals)—17 objectives to eliminate poverty, improve education and health outcomes, create better jobs and tackle our key environmental challenges by 2030. The purpose of the conference is to show how the Global Goals provide the private sector with a new growth strategy that opens valuable market opportunities while creating a world that is both sustainable and inclusive. And the potential rewards for doing so are significant.
Kenya’s top mobile network operator, Safaricom has also been a leader in creating innovations that remove obstacles to financial inclusion through its mobile banking platform M-PESA, and increases sustainable energy access through M-KOPA. “Africa has a real opportunity to lead the way in doing better business for a better world. As a commission we have found that across the continent, there is potential for inclusive, green growth and development which remains untapped,” said Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom and member of the Business Commission. “We stand on the cusp of possibilities and we must seize the opportunity now. As the report shows, there have been in the last few years a demonstration of the possibility of leapfrogging development through new technologies and the Internet to bring development in transformative ways that also promote purpose.”