Global Compact Renews Drive for Responsible Business in Africa

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Global Compact Renews Drive for Responsible Business in Africa

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.@globalcompact renews drive for responsible business on occasion of 50th Anniversary of the African Union
Friday, May 24, 2013 - 3:15am

CONTENT: Press Release

Addis Ababa, May 24, 2013 /3BL Media/ – The United Nations Global Compact has redoubled efforts to scale up corporate sustainability in Africa and emphasize the private sector’s role in contributing to the continent’s full economic and social renaissance. Following more than a decade of unprecedented growth, Africa is poised to unleash a strong business sector, with Governments serving as a critical catalyst for change.

The announcement was delivered today in Addis Ababa during the Pan African Business Conference which salutes the 50th Anniversary of the Organization of the African Unity/African Union (OAU/AU). The conference, which seeks to bring the voice of the private sector to AU discussions, is hosted by the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and co-sponsored by the AU, UN Development Programme and the UN Global Compact.

With an average growth rate of 5 percent since 2000 and expectations for growth to surpass all other continents over the next five years, investment in Africa has increased and economic development is being stimulated by a growing wave of entrepreneurs, workers and consumers. While business has contributed to advancing sustainable development in the region, critical areas remain where companies can help to drive continued growth and development – including anti-corruption, youth employment, women’s empowerment and competitiveness.

In remarks delivered by Africa Representative Olajobi Makinwa, UN Global Compact Executive Director Georg Kell said, “Business has certainly played a key role in helping the continent to finally take off after many lost decades. But these gains may not be sustainable unless underpinned by responsible business practices.”

Mr. Kell urged African business leaders to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles based on the Global Compact into their companies’ strategies and operations, in an effort to unleash a new round of productive growth and social advancement. Already, more than 500 companies and other stakeholders are participating in the Global Compact across 35 countries, and 17 African Local Networks are helping to enhance understanding of sustainable business practice in the national and regional context. Yet, this constitutes only a fraction of the more than 7,000 companies and 3,500 stakeholders that are engaged worldwide in the Global Compact.

He added, “There is real urgency. I challenge all of you to commit to sustainable business practices, to collaborate on moving to the forefront the issues which are lagging behind, and to help many more companies join this movement so that the continent may continue its path towards its renaissance.” 

As part of its efforts, the Global Compact recently launched a global Call to Action to mobilize the private sector against corruption. Business leaders are asked to refuse to engage in graft, and to urge Governments to promote anti-corruption measures and to establish systems of good governance. As part of a year-long global campaign, the Call to Action seeks to showcase the private sector’s commitment to transparency and anti-corruption as new post-2015 global development priorities are established. (Read the complete Call to Action.)

Moving forward, the Global Compact will focus on helping more companies in Africa to embed its universal principles, so that a critical mass of companies joins the global movement to conduct business sustainably. The Global Compact will also work with the private sector to urge Governments to provide the right incentives and enabling environments for business to thrive.

At the Global Compact Leaders Summit to be held in New York on 19-20 September 2013, a high-level Private Sector Forum between African Heads of State, chief executives, and leaders from civil society and the UN will focus on the role of business in the post-2015 UN development agenda, with an emphasis on unique opportunities and challenges in Africa related to employment, education, women’s empowerment and innovative financing. The Forum will provide the opportunity to inspire new public-private partnerships and other commitments that overcome systemic challenges in Africa, and advance corporate sustainability as a way to achieve a shared, secure and sustainable future.

About the United Nations Global Compact

Launched in 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a multi-stakeholder leadership initiative, it seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With more than 7,000 corporate signatories in over 135 countries, it is the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative.

For press inquiries or to interview Ms. Olajobi Makinwa in Addis Ababa, please contact:

Kristen Coco

Public Affairs & Media Relations

UN Global Compact

+1 917-288-0787


Kristen Coco
+1 (917) 288-0787
UN Global Compact
Keywords: Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | African Union | Events, Media & Communications | Global Compact | Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Social Impact & Volunteering | united nations

CONTENT: Press Release