More than 600 companies and other stakeholders from Africa are participating in the UN Global Compact across 35 countries. It is clear that there is huge potential for growth in the region. The business landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa is marked by many opportunities but also beset by complex challenges for the private sector to address. There is a growing awareness of how basic development issues like poverty, corruption and education affect market growth and private sector development in Africa. Private investment and business can play an important role in Africa’s development by not only bringing financial value but also by contributing to core development needs that support the market development business needs to thrive.
10 African Local Networks are helping to enhance understanding of sustainable business practice in the national and regional context. To date, Local Networks have focused particularly on outreach, learning and reporting activities. Although the networks convene meetings and events in various areas, most engage in the UN Global Compact’s anti-corruption work.
In collaboration with African CEOs, the UN Global Compact has adopted a long-term strategy to better connect with the growing private sector in Africa. Released in 2014, the strategy, entitled “Partners in Change: UN Global Compact Advancing Corporate Sustainability in Africa” has become the cornerstone of the UN Global Compact’s work in Sub-Saharan Africa. The core objectives of the Africa Strategy are to:
- Build greater awareness of responsible business practices in Sub-Saharan Africa;
- Align business needs and objectives with UN development goals, such as poverty alleviation, anti-corruption and infrastructure development; and
- Provide opportunities to innovate business solutions that address Africa’s key development issues.