Philanthropy can make a difference in a corporation’s bottom line. The integration of a social mission alongside day to day operations has become a winning strategy for many companies worldwide as they seek to continually meet the needs of their customers while using their profits to do good in their communities.
On the continent, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming central in both local and multinational companies’ agendas, more so as Africa continues to realize the need to solve its own problems. While this concept is not a new one, there are questions related to the strength of African states in initiating their own policies to engender African development and promote CSR on the continent. In the meantime, we highlight a few of the very many companies that are engaged in a social mission and are giving back to their communities.
Safaricom Mobile money transfer and micro-financing has grown over the last decade, and for many populations, the use of a mobile phone to manage the flow of finances is efficient, low cost and saves valuable time. Kenya leads the way on the continent as the leading provider of mobile payment services, and Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile network operator plays a strong role in enabling this growth with M-Pesa. M-Pesa was originally developed to allow microfinance loan repayments to be made by phone as a cost saving method, particularly for small business owners at the micro level. This service has since been adapted to the needs of the broader population who enjoy the convenience that comes with the transfer of money.
Kenya Airways Kenya Airways invests in sustainability initiatives and is committed to improving education infrastructure and facilities that enable the creation of a conducive learning environment. Through their “Bombay ambulance” initiative, they offer their services to patients who need to travel abroad for medical treatment, and are committed to the environment through the reduction of their carbon footprint and so helping to create a cleaner and safer environment.
Jovago.com As one of the leading hotel booking websites on the continent, Jovago.com, through its partnership with UNICEF, ensures that newborns and children under the age of five born to mothers and their families on the continent without prior access to official birth registration services are afforded the opportunity to own a birth certificate. That’s an estimated two hundred million children on the continent. Owning a birth certificate offers more than just a piece of paper; in many areas, it serves as a means of protection against child labor, sex trafficking and other offenses. A voluntary donation from every customer booking goes towards this initiative.
MTN Ghana As the leading provider of telecommunications services in Africa and the Middle East, MTN’s overriding mission is to be a vehicle for Ghana’s economic growth and development, helping to promote Ghana’s strong development potential from the provision of world-class telecommunications products and services, through to innovative and sustainable corporate social investment initiatives. Through the MTN Ghana Foundation, the company is able to achieve its CSR goals in the areas of healthcare where they support education and prevention services; education, where they work with area schools on various projects and economic empowerment, supporting local businesses and new entrepreneurs.
Orange Kenya The company currently stands as the only integrated telecommunications solutions provider in Kenya, offering a comprehensive range of services including landline and internet services. The company also does really well in its commitment to community outreach. Some examples of support they have provided include its work in automating HIV antiretroviral logistics in Nairobi Health Centers; female empowerment initiatives through its collaboration with nonprofit organizations like World Vision in the region and famine relief in drought affected areas, particularly in the Northern Kenyan districts.
Stanbic IBTC Holdings The financial service holding company in Nigeria has subsidiaries in banking, stock brokerage, investment advisory & pensions and is a part of Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest banking group in twenty African countries. Using their core strength in financial services and management, they have partnered with organizations like International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Management Sciences for Health (MSH) in building capacity in financial management, report writing and improving the management skills of business owners. They also work with the Nigerian government in the expansion of youth owned businesses while encouraging the development of business ideas that would lead to job creation.
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