African Business Success Stories Must Be Shared, Taught, Report Says

African Business Success Stories Must Be Shared, Taught, Report Says

From Sudan Vision.

In Kenya, where fewer than 7 percent of the population has a bank account, Safaricom introduced a mobile phone-based money transfer system that allows low-income customers access to financial services at minimal cost.

In Ghana, Global Agri-Development Company is integrating smallholder farmers into the agri-processing value chains, providing training, equipment and local, reliable food products at competitive prices.

In South Africa, Aspen Pharmacare produces affordable medicines for life-threatening diseases such as HIV, TB and malaria through tax incentives and a national anti-retroviral purchasing program that guaranteed a market. Aspen is now the largest producer of tablets and capsules in Africa and has created thousands of jobs.

How African countries can more readily include low income residents as consumers, entrepreneurs and employees is the subject of a United Nations report released in Ethiopia during the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Organization of African Unity, according to a report in Sudan Vision.

“Realizing Africa’s Wealth – Building Inclusive Businesses for Shared Prosperity” draws on 43 in-depth case studies and a database of 600 institutions to illustrate the state of inclusive business in Africa. The report looks at a broad spectrum of businesses from banking to agribusiness.

Involving low-income communities in markets and businesses across Africa is essential for economic growth to translate into sustainable development, the U.N. Development Program report says.

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Prepared by U.N.’s African Facility for Inclusive Markets, the report describes inclusive business in sub-Saharan Africa and the environment needed to support them and entrepreneurs. It identifies promising opportunities for helping enterprises and entrepreneurs to build more inclusive businesses for mutual benefit. The report calls for more efforts to support inclusive businesses with incentives and investment schemes as well as knowledge sharing about market information and implementation, according to Sudan Vision.

“African countries need to ensure that economic growth is inclusive and sustainable,” said Tegegnework Gettu, undersecretary general and director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, at the Pan Africa Business Conference in Addis Ababa.

Making sure all African citizens can become entrepreneurs, consumers, employees or producers requires business environments that provide opportunities for all, the report said.

“After having been called a hopeless continent, all of a sudden Africa is being recognized as the market of the future,” said Ghana Foreign Minister Hannah Tetteh. “We are at crossroads where we have to identify how we best engage together to be able to secure our African renaissance.”

The report calls for the development of inclusive business ecosystem-building initiatives regionally and nationally, with the support of finance mechanisms to provide resources for coordination, information and funding. It also calls for the creation of centers to do research, document successful approaches, share knowledge and build capacity at continental, regional and national levels.

Read more at Sudan Vision.