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Barnard Tiekie, SVAI Chief Executive. / Courtesy

A section of firms operating in Rwanda is set to hold deliberations later this month on avenues they can lead their companies to solve social problems while driving profits.

The meeting is scheduled for October 31, hosted by Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI), the Pan-African business network.

Research has shown that businesses focusing on economic growth and social purpose can outperform competitors.

The meeting, titled “Shared Value in Africa: join the conversation”, will enable business leaders to share insights on effective ways to drive the adoption of Shared Value, a business model that enables the business to create economic value and value for society.

The Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB) and the Private Sector Federation (PSF) are also co-hosting the event.

“Shared Value thinking, the ability to see the business opportunity in driving the creation of a better world through the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, is key to Africa becoming the economic powerhouse of the twenty-first century,” said SVAI Chief Executive Barnard Tiekie.

“Creating Shared Value is a choice that leadership makes to increase their competitiveness, grow their organizations and use their strategies to address social issues,” Tiekie added.

At the summit, delegates will look into models of social impact in the country such as Water Access Rwanda which has increased the access of clean water to households.

Among the desired outcomes of the summit include enabling the local business community to identify business opportunities solving social and environmental problems.

Using this approach, firms identify a key social or environmental issue to focus on that is in line with their business operations, finding a possible solution and collaborating with a partner, planning the relevant business activities involved, and modeling anticipated business and social benefits relative to projected costs.

“Rwanda has taught many countries in the rest of the world that it is possible to achieve one of the highest rates of economic growth globally, while also making a significant improvement in social conditions of its people,” added Tiekie.

“Rwanda’s rate of economic growth has averaged 8 percent since 2001, according to the World Bank. In social terms, poverty rates have fallen while healthcare has improved. It is important to discuss how businesses can contribute to building on this success.”

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