It’s almost a year since I first shared my thoughts on how African companies could step up, scale up and scale out both during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. With increasingly dim projections of how Covid-19 was going to affect Africa’s economic growth, I wanted to highlight the new levels of innovation already coming from African businesses to fill the gap left by a reduction in imports. I wanted to encourage African business leaders to maintain their momentum on making their countries more self-sufficient and better prepared to withstand future economic shocks. Finally, I wanted to show them how integrating Sustainability (Environmental, Social and Governance) best practice into their core business operations would be as critical to creating value and securing a long-term future as solid commercial and financial planning and strong technical standards.
A lot has changed since then, and while African companies are still proving their ability to innovate, my thoughts have turned to what practical steps they can take to turn my advice into action. While I haven’t been able to travel, I have kept up my regular conversations with, and advice and support to, African business leaders and Boards, and with foreign investors in Africa. They have given me a strong sense of the challenge of reflecting on sustainability as a growth mechanism when your business is struggling for survival, and how difficult it can be for leaders to demonstrate their commitment in the current climate.
As a business owner and Board member, I understand that completely. That’s why I’m going to cut to the chase by publishing a series of short articles containing simple points to get you started. My first article, explaining what Boards can do to establish more effective ESG leadership, will appear here on 23rd February.