Safaricom is calling on businesses to implement the Shared Value business model where companies find business opportunities in social problems through products that address unserved or underserved customers, changing practices in the value chain to drive productivity and improving the available skills, supplier base, and supporting institutions in the communities where a company operates.
Speaking at the Africa Shared Value Summit at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi yesterday, Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said the call for more private sector innovations and the call for businesses to develop products and services that address societal needs has been a constant topic in business leadership discussions.
He added that: “Let’s seriously think about how to create employment for the youth, how we can do businesses more with women-led firms and the SME sector.”
The two day conference which concludes today brought together delegates from across Africa to discuss the pros of implementing the Shared Value business model for the continent and that will ultimately make it an economic powerhouse.
Mr Collymore emphasized that businesses need to do more in fighting social inequalities which degrade the quality of life and the communities from which they derive profits.
He explained that businesses can do this by addressing corruption within their ranks, paying taxes responsibly and transparently, tackling inequalities in the workplace and adopting inclusive business approaches.
“We also cannot avoid or evade taxes and then take the high road of criticizing the corrupt or poor government services while still aiming to tackle inequalities in the workplace,” he said.
The Safaricom CEO told the conference that the private sector must look itself in the mirror as they are often “the other side of the coin” in corrupt practices which cause significant hemorrhage to the economy, drive inefficiencies, drive up prices, widen the inequality gulf and deprive government of revenue that should be used to deliver services.
Also speaking at the summit, the Chief of Staff & Delivery Unit Head at the Office of the President, Nzioka Waita said that shared value can help address soci-economic challenges but only if businesses, civil society and public sector work together.
He added that: “There is significant scope for Government and the business community to jointly unlock shared value. This can only happen is we tackle the obstacles including surrendering short term profiteering for long term growth, willingness to reconfigure the approach to intellectual property rights in healthcare and food security and addressing the role that business plays in encouraging corruption.”