Issues such as climate change, inequalities and rights are increasingly becoming fundamental issues that we will have to tackle as the private sector if we are to succeed.
The truth is, no one sector – public, private or NGO – has the capacity to address the fundamental business and social challenges that we face today.
And that is why collaborative and inclusive approaches to business and cross-sectoral partnerships are critical.
But this must be looked at through a business lens for it to make sense over the long term.
Increased inequalities lead to socio-political ills, such as increased disaffection, disengagement, migration, sectionalism, clanism, tribalism and xenophobia.
If not addressed, inequalities will ultimately create a political and business landscape that will be difficult to reverse – we see this in the U.S. and with Brexit.
Inequalities drive people to engagement in nefarious activities, such as trafficking and slavery.
The BBC reported not too long ago that there are about 45 million people living in slavery-type situations in the world today, which is many more than at the time slavery was abolished.
Faced with this global challenge of inequality, what should businesses do?
I wish to propose four approaches;
Firstly, we must adopt inclusive business approaches. Let’s seriously think about how to create employment for the youth, how we can do business more with women-led firms and the SME sector.
Secondly, we must address corruption. Corruption is a challenge in our country, on the continent and globally. It is often executed with the concurrence of the private sector. We are the other side of the coin. This scourge which causes a significant hemorrhage to the economy, drives inefficiencies, drives up prices, widens the inequality gulf and deprives government of revenue that should be used to deliver services.