Nestlé’s “Creating Shared Value” Prize 2016 Backs Social Enterprises In Africa

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – There is a vibrancy of innovation across Africa, where social entrepreneurs are making a difference to improving the lives and economic prospects of Africa’s most vulnerable people and communities. The good news is that momentum is growing, with President Obama pushing entrepreneurship to the forefront of the US agenda by announcing the SPARK initiative to generate “more than $1 billion dollars in new investments in the next generation of entrepreneurs around the world... and ignite the next era of innovation and growth.”

At the Creating Shared Value Global Forum in Abidjan, Nestlé announced the winner of the Creating Shared Value (CSV) Prize 2016, where Agro-Hub from Cameroon is the new prize laureate. Natural Extracts Industries from Tanzania was the runner up. Nestlé created this award to help business-oriented initiatives that address challenges in nutrition, water, or rural development to scale up or be replicated. The prize rewards initiatives that reflect the spirit of CSV and is now in its fourth year. Soon, applications for 2017 will be opening, looking for innovative businesses or social enterprises making a difference. 

This year’s winner, Agro-Hub, is an initiative that has successfully linked smallholder cassava farmers to buyers. It has provided them with opportunities to generate significant and sustainable income. Agro-Hub receives 300,000 Swiss francs to upgrade its cassava processing facilities. Natural Extracts Industries, a social enterprise from Tanzania, was selected runner-up for pioneering the sustainable extraction of vanilla and other natural flavours in Tanzania. Supporting rural development and sustainability, Natural Extracts Industries receives 200,000 Swiss francs in prize monies to expand its network of smallholder farmers which supply natural flavouring ingredients.

Overall, there is no shortage of economic growth in Africa Many of the countries whose wellbeing has improved most in the past five years are on a list headed by Angola and includes Congo, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania, where all have enjoyed rapid growth in GDP per person. Six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa, where a clutch of countries have enjoyed growth in income per person of more than five percent a year since 2007. Africa’s collective GDP, at $1.6 trillion in 2008, is now roughly equal to Brazil’s or Russia’s, and the continent is among the world’s most rapidly growing economic regions. This acceleration is a sign of hard-earned progress and promise.

This economic growth is, in part, due to the rate of return on foreign investment which is higher in Africa than in any other developing region. Telecommunications, banking, and retailing are flourishing. Construction is booming. Private-investment inflows are surging. The key reasons behind this growth surge included government action to end armed conflicts, improve macroeconomic conditions, and undertake microeconomic reforms to create a better business climate.

However, many of Africa’s 50-plus individual economies face serious challenges, including poverty, disease and high infant mortality, which is why social enterprises are seen as a viable sustainable solution to these social issues.

Photo Credit: Agro-Hub on 3BL Media