Africa is a youthful continent – 60% of its population is currently under 25. As such, it is critical to nurture young leaders across the spectrum of the public and private sectors. If the next generation is not equipped to deal with the challenges it will face, from climate change to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, then no business or nation will be able to create or sustain the inclusive growth that the Shared Value business model advocates. Young business leaders are emerging across the continent who are forward-thinking and driven to create a world that is better, even if it means abandoning the status quo.
These qualities are valuable indeed. A lack of leadership in Africa threatens economic progress. The Mo Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership has been given out just four times since it was inaugurated in 2006. It is clear that Africa needs leaders who will positively contribute to solid transformation of the continent. This is not only true of government, but the private sector as well. It is only when there is a common agenda driven from the top and embraced throughout the value chain that all stakeholders can truly prosper.
The Shared Value Africa Initiative recognises the need for fresh thinking in business, clear-eyed vision that sees the opportunity in societal and environmental challenges. Shared Value is fundamentally a competitive business strategy, enabling organisations to incorporate doing good into doing good business in a holistic, sustainable way. The purpose of building Africa’s most powerful Shared Value business network is to enable businesses across the continent to leverage the power of collective impact in order to build the Africa we want through the creation of inclusive growth. This is about thinking differently about business – about taking a social challenge, understanding its context, and crafting business strategies that solve problems for society rather than creating them.
With this vision in mind, the SVAI is proud to announce the Africa Council of 8 – a gathering of some of Africa’s young trailblazers to tackle the continent’s biggest problems from a business perspective. This is a meeting of minds from across the continent that emphasises the necessity for Africa to find solutions from within. Each councilmember holds a senior position in a home-grown African business that is a successful, ethical and, at its heart, puts the interests of the African people first. The rigorous selection process aimed not only to prioritise business acumen, but also seek those who advocate for new, purpose-driven ways of doing business. Their success is a reflection of this approach, both as individuals and in their corporate lives.
The Africa Council of 8 members will not only meet on pressing issues to set the agenda for SVAI and its member network, but will also further the Shared Value movement across the continent. Drawn from such diverse countries as Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa, the Councilmembers will meet at Davos each year, participating in the global economic conversation and offering their unique perspective on pressing global and African challenges. They will become formal champions of the Initiative and use their influence to motivate the strategic implementation of Shared Value in businesses across the continent.
The eight founding Council members will be formally announced in January 2019. For more information, sign up for our newsletter and follow the Shared Value Africa Initiative on social media.