Business for good: today and for the future

Creating a new normal for development in Africa as we are building back better

In response to COVID-19, many companies have used their business for good to benefit society. In multiple African countries, where private sector action in this space has been less common, we have witnessed quite interesting movements:

  • In Nigeria, the Coalition Against Coronavirus (CACOVID) brought together key players in the private sector such as Dangote Group, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, UBA, MTN, KPMG and many others, to help the government with the sensitisation of Nigerians on how to protect themselves and to acquire equipment to aid the medical practitioners at the forefront of these cases.
  • In Kenya, Safe Hands Kenya, an alliance of Kenyan organisations collaborated to deploy free soap, hand-washing stations and masks to Kenyans, and disinfecting public spaces, as the first line of defence against COVID-19.

However, as the concept of Rebuilding Better is high on the agenda, this must be more than a short-term change in response to a crisis. The private sector in Africa must move from a short-term ‘value extraction’ approach to a long-term business strategy ‘value-creation’ approach. Moreover, it needs to rethink the historically broken links between Governments, Development Agencies and society at large to not only their build a license to operate but to become a key actor in the long-term benefactor to society and economy as a whole.

As Albert Einstein said, “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”. So, let’s not miss this opportunity to create real, lasting changes to the way we work. Let’s make the new normal permanent, instead of a short-lived campaign.

To hear more in my conversation with Fabio Scala of FurtherAfrica: