2019 Sustainable Business Report

SAFARICOM SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS REPORT 2019 INTRODUCTION OUR BUSINESS OUR MATERIAL TOPICS STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT CONCLUDING REMARKS 87 The same situation plays out in San Francisco, where there is immense income per capita, but it is virtually impossible to live there as it is so expensive. These statistics, whether describing Nairobi, Johannesburg or Seattle, are pointing to a grim and growing reality: that the number of economically disenfranchised people is growing rapidly right around the world. And yes, this worsening state of affairs – the growing divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ – is happening in many of the areas where our businesses are thriving and where we live. The reality is that our global economy is broken. Hundreds of millions of people live in extreme poverty while huge rewards go to those at the very top. Many reports show that there are more billionaires than ever before, and their fortunes have grown to record levels. Meanwhile, the world’s poorest are getting poorer. This state of affairs is not sustainable. Over the long-term, business cannot succeed where society is failing, and the reality is that the existing models of business are not generating enough value to contribute to societal good. As our African economies focus on their growth trajectory — from lower to middle-income countries — the question is whether our nations should pursue GDP-driven economic growth or growth that aims to bridge these inequalities. We may ask ourselves why this matters to business. Now, more than ever, there is a clear call to action to business that the business of business can no longer be just business. The Sustainable Development Goals, the call for more private sector innovation and the call for businesses to develop products and services that address societal needs has been a constant topic in business leadership discussions. You will hear more from Mark Kramer and other speakers through the two days of this Summit about the changing role of business and business leadership. 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.