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Realizing Africa’s Wealth: Launch of UNDP report on Inclusive Business Ecosystems

06.08.2013  12:43

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the report “Realizing Africa’s Wealth: Building Inclusive Businesses for Shared Prosperity 10 May 2013” last week. The report is prepared by UNDP’s African Facility for Inclusive Markets and describes the status of inclusive business in sub-Saharan Africa and the ecosystems surrounding enterprises and entrepreneurs. Business Counsellor at the Royal Danish Embassy, Elisabeth Manford, attended the launch and was excited about the report: ”It identifies promising opportunities in strengthening these ecosystems, enabling enterprises and entrepreneurs to build more – and stronger – inclusive businesses.

“Realizing Africa’s Wealth” stresses the importance of building an inclusive business ecosystem. Inclusive businesses bring low-income individuals into the marketplace, as consumers, producers, employees and entrepreneurs. These have previously been excluded, but through an inclusive business system low income individuals are provided with access to income opportunities, basic goods and services.

Use of M-Pesa's mobile services in rural areas

M-Pesa's mobile services in use in a rural area.

South Africa and Kenya emerge as leaders in the area of inclusive business, with entrepreneurs benefiting from dense support ecosystems. An example of inclusive businesses in Kenya is M-Pesa’s mobile money services, which reach 15 million people in Kenya alone. The services provide their customers, including many people in rural areas, with access to financial services.

Another example of entrepreneurship being beneficial to low-income people is the Kenyan social enterprise, Ecotact. More than 40% of Kenya’s population of 41 million lacks access to basic sanitation. In slums such as Kibera, outside of Nairobi, the majority of residents have no access to proper sanitation. The few public toilets that do exist are usually inaccessible, unhygienic, and lack privacy and security. In response to the massive demand for sanitation services, Ecotact has constructed 60 modern facilities in the last five years, serving more than 48,000 people, mostly in urban slums. The examples show that while enterprises are the drivers of inclusive businesses, entrepreneurship is required of all societal actors if the surrounding ecosystems are to be developed.

To read more about the report and other examples of inclusive businesses, click here.


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