Our Work in Africa

The international community looks to the African continent with its diverse markets and solutions for addressing the world’s most pressing challenges and critical transitions. The continent is set to outperform much of the rest of the world in economic growth over the next two years, with several traditionally strong industries slated to be some of the fastest-growing – construction, mineral resources, telecommunications and agriculture – as well as fast growth from emerging industries in sports and the creative arts. However, Africa faces challenges such as climate and humanitarian crises, underdeveloped infrastructure, limited access to technology and finance, market fragmentation, foreign currency volatility, inability to earn a living wage and the need for resilient business strategies amongst others. The private sector and UN Global Compact are well positioned to take a role in building multi-stakeholder solutions to address these challenges.

With this backdrop, the UN Global Compact launched its Africa Strategy from 2021-2023, focused on articulating a shared vision for the continent and aimed to advance corporate sustainability and ethical business practices. The Africa Strategy for 2024-2025 evolves this effort by aligning global and regional approaches, given the interconnected nature of international and African-specific goals. By addressing outstanding priorities from the previous strategy, this reinvigorated approach seeks clarity and comprehensiveness. Furthermore, this strategy takes into account the priorities that are top of mind for African businesses, such as the cost of capital, energy and ease of doing business. 

The Strategy will accelerate and scale the impact of African businesses by upholding the Ten Principles as well as delivering the SDGs and the AU Agenda 2063 through ambitious, accountable companies and environments that enable change. Two objectives and three key pillars support this ambition: the two objectives are growing impact through action and driving inclusive impact, supported by the pillars of value proposition, growth and operating model. In addition, two enabling initiatives are instituted through this strategy: the Africa Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) and the Global Africa Business Initiative (GABI).

Moreover, we will focus our efforts in programmatic areas core to the African private sector including Climate and Environment, Labour and Decent Work / Living Wage, Gender Equality and Sustainable Finance. Additional focus areas that we will build upon include Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions/Anti-corruption, Oceans, Human Rights and Water Resilience. 

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Two streamlined objectives underpin the ambition of the Africa Strategy: Growing impact through action and driving inclusive impact.

  1. Growing impact through action involves enabling large African companies and their value chains on their sustainability journeys. Top and Influential companies are positioned to raise ambition and drive widespread change in Africa (e.g., via their extensive supply chains). Our platforms such as the ABLC are focused on delivering action-oriented outcomes.
  2. Driving inclusive impact involves all geographies, languages, sectors, business sizes and regional and local contexts. The Global Compact will support not only the involvement of large businesses but also the integration of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), youth and local voices into the sustainability dialogue. This inclusive approach aims to build capacities at all levels, ensuring that the benefits of sustainable development are equitably shared.


The UN Global Compact will offer customized programs that cater to the needs of African companies of all sizes, prioritizing five thematic areas: Gender Equity, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Climate Action, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and Partnerships.

Several impactful delivery mechanisms ensure that Global Compact participating companies gain necessary knowledge and tools to adopt the Ten Principles and SDGs. 

  • The Academy of the UN Global Compact offers training and master classes to provide participating companies with the knowledge and skills they need to meet their sustainability objectives.
  • Think Labs serve as incubators for future-oriented programs and themes and provide thought leadership for the ambition of the Global Compact. 
  • Accelerators help companies make rapid progress on specific sustainability goals in their operating context. 
  • Peer learning groups bring together companies and stakeholders to share best practices and challenges on an ongoing basis at the global, regional and local levels. 
  • Policy advocacy enables companies to support policy development and ambitious local action. 
  • Events connect participants and stakeholders across programs and ecosystems.
  • The Africa Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) gathers the leaders of 65 prominent African companies as a unified voice of the African private sector. The coalition advocates on pressing pan-continental issues.
  • The Global Africa Business Initiative (GABI) is a platform that puts the private sector at the center of the discussions and the solutions to accelerate Africa’s business, trade and investment opportunities to advance policy, financial and business solutions on the continent.

Value for businesses:

The Africa Strategy presents a unique value proposition for all business participants by emphasizing localization and regionalization across diverse delivery mechanisms. It aims to address Africa's unique challenges through global initiatives like Forward Faster, policy advocacy, Think Labs and more. We leverage the United Nations convening power to establish dynamic multi-stakeholder platforms, connecting businesses, governments and various actors to foster partnerships.

Large companies benefit from networking opportunities, a seat at the policy table and supply chain transformation. Initiatives like the ABLC and GABI contribute to advancing progress in these priority areas, unify the voice of the African private sector, reposition Africa’s narrative on the global stage and communicate the collective power of private sector action in the aforementioned areas. 

The Strategy aims to empower Africa’s SMEs and enhance their impact on African economies through targeted outreach, tailored programs and advocacy efforts. SMEs hold potential to scale up impact for the SDGs and often present innovative or niche solutions that have transformative impact. The UN Global Compact equips companies with tools required to support their sustainability reporting, build coalitions and facilitate direct engagement with governments for policy advocacy. The Strategy supports a future in which SMEs on the continent are enabled with opportunities to advance as leaders and innovators in their respective fields.