Every round of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting represents an opportunity for stakeholders across the global spectrum to recommit to working together to solve some of the socio-economic challenges the world faces.
At the start of a new decade, the imperative for stakeholders to align around common goals that address issues like poverty, inequality, inclusion and the environment, is more urgent than ever. With just a decade to go on the deadline for achieving both the Sustainable Development Goals and South Africa’s National Development Plan, greater collaboration between stakeholders towards activating actual outcomes that result in real change and shared value is critical.
“At Old Mutual, we’re thinking about how to scale-up the work we are already doing with a wide range of stakeholders so that it creates growth for our business but at the same time, we work to solve the socio-economic challenges we face as a continent,” says Iain Williamson, Interim CEO.
Old Mutual returned its focus to Africa during mid-2018, a move that signaled a renewed confidence in the growth opportunities the continent holds. However, in order to unlock its full potential, the business is increasingly having to work more closely with its key stakeholders to better deliver shared value and growth.
The Group has already committed US$8.3-billion towards creating inclusive and sustainable economies on behalf of its clients and is working with its stakeholders across the continent to achieve SMART objectives. Partnerships that are enhancing the lives of not only its customers, but broadly the communities across the 14 countries in which it operates include:
- US $ 92, 3-million committed to providing access to quality education in conjunction with National, Provincial and Local Departments of Education. The Group’s Education Flagship Project in South Africa, for example, forged strong partnerships with local education authorities across four provinces over seven years to improve maths and science skills amongst matric learners as well as running an extensive school leadership programme for teachers and principals which has helped to improve performance in these pilot schools.
- US $ 845-million committed to affordable housing projects across Africa, in conjunction with a range of partners, including government. A core part of this approach is around gap housing, which seeks to address the challenge of those considered “too rich” to receive free-government subsidised houses yet “too poor” to fall within the normal mortgage lending stream with financial institutions.
- US $ 2, 4-billion has been committed to clean energy projects across Africa, enough to sustainably power more than 800,000 homes.
- US $ 84-million committed to enterprise and supplier development projects that support small, medium, youth, women and black-owned business. Working in conjunction with key stakeholder in both government and business, the core focus is to create access to funding, markets as well as the technical support necessary for these business to succeed.
Despite persistent challenges, alignment between stakeholders around common goals makes it significantly easier to achieve progress.
“We remain as invested as all of our partners in driving change. We’re thinking about tomorrow by acting today and our stakeholders play an integral part in this journey. We are inspired by the African Proverb that says: If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together,” concludes Iain.
Over the next decade, the Old Mutual Group will be working to strengthen its resolve around activating actual outcomes so that these commitments begin to bear fruit. Working with stakeholders to this end, remains a priority!