2019 Sustainable Business Report

SAFARICOM SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS REPORT 2019 INTRODUCTION OUR BUSINESS OUR MATERIAL TOPICS STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT CONCLUDING REMARKS 86 On 24 and 25 May, 2019, we hosted the Africa Shared Value Summit, where CEO Bob Collymore gave the keynote speech focusing on reducing inequalities – the theme for this year’s report. We have published the full speech in his memory and as a reflection of his commitment to reducing inequalities. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, One of the things that I like about the area we are in right now is that you can enjoy some of the most panoramic views of Nairobi from vantage points of the gleaming buildings that have been built in the Upper Hill and its surroundings. Upper Hill is actually billed by some as Nairobi’s new commercial district. The view speaks of a vibrant business sector abuzz with opportunity. But yet Nairobi, and many of the cities in which we live, have another side to them, a side that we all probably know. I am told that there are 14 countries represented here, so for those delegates not from Kenya, I will explain that just about a 10 minute drive away will get you to the Southern bypass. These gleaming buildings pale into the distance and right in front of you, adjacent to the bypass, is the sprawling Kibera settlement: rows of tightly squeezed, tin-roofed shacks that represent the reality in which millions of Nairobians live. That picture from the southern bypass of Nairobi also demonstrates graphically the inequality that exists in the city and, sadly, throughout our nation, our continent and our globe. According to Oxfam, the richest 10 per cent of people in Kenya earn, on average, 23 times more than the poorest 10 per cent. What is even more distressing from the annual Oxfam study is that a girl from a poor family in Kenya has a one in 250 chance of continuing her studies beyond secondary school. The picture is almost the same across the continent. The latest edition of Time magazine paints a picture of inequality in South Africa that should attract everyone’s attention. Time reports that the World Bank last year deemed South Africa the world’s most unequal society, estimating that the top 10 per cent owned 70 per cent of the nation’s assets in 2015. The Time story further tells us that the societal split is still largely along racial lines; the bottom 60 per cent, is largely composed of black, mixed-race and Asian people descended from an era of slavery and colonial rule. This bottom 60 per cent controls only seven per cent of the country’s net wealth and half the South African population live on less than five US dollars a day. The inequality problem we face today is not only limited to Africa. As a matter of fact, it is the norm across the global arena. I recently came back from Seattle in Washington State. To quickly bring this to perspective, Washington State plays home to the headquarters of Microsoft and Starbucks, as well as laying claim to being the founding home of Boeing, the largest private employer in the State. The Washington state tax system has the dubious distinction – according to some analysts – of being the most regressive tax regime in America. Reports compiled by independent analysts show that poor residents in that state pay 16.8 per cent of family income in state and local taxes, while the wealthiest one per cent pay only 2.4 per cent.