African business leaders, entrepreneurs and economies can benefit from and help develop significant economic opportunities, worth $1 trillion in the region and $12 trillion globally if they pursue sustainable business models.

This is according to the African Better Business, Better World report from the Business and Sustainable Development Commission.

Sustainable business to drive African economy

According to a press statement, the Business Commission’s global report, first launched in January 2017 ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, shows how sustainable business models could open economic opportunities across 60 “hot spots” worth up to $12 trillion and increase employment by up to 380 million jobs by 2030.

In Africa alone, sustainable business models could open up an economic prize of at least $1.1 trillion and create over 85 million new jobs by 2030.

Mark Malloch-Brown, chair of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission said: “The world is seeing increasingly that African companies are models for what can be achieved with ingenuity and innovation as they solve difficult social challenges.

“They are not wedded to old solutions, so here in Kenya we see digital innovators delivering banking, energy and health solutions. The speed of innovation and adoption is astonishing.”

He added: “The Better Business, Better World report launch in Nairobi puts the African private sector squarely in the drivers’ seat on the road to achieving sustainable development, and we welcome more African business leaders to join the Business Commission.”

Kenya driving innovation

Kenya’s leading mobile network operator, Safaricom has also been leader in creating innovations that remove obstacles to financial inclusion through its mobile banking platform M-PESA, and increases sustainable energy access through M-KOPA.

“Africa has a real opportunity to lead the way in doing better business for a better world. As a commission we have found that across the continent, there is potential for inclusive, green growth and development which remains untapped,” said Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom and member of the Business Commission.

“We stand on the cusp of possibilities and we must seize the opportunity now. As the report shows, there have been in the last few years a demonstration of the possibility of leapfrogging development through new technologies and the Internet to bring development in transformative ways that also promote purpose.”

The press statement noted: “Throughout 2017, the Commission will focus on working with companies to strengthen corporate alignment with the Global Goals, including: mentoring the next generation of sustainable development leaders; creating sectorial roadmaps and league tables that rank corporate performance against the Global Goals; and supporting measures to unlock blended finance for sustainable infrastructure investment.”

“We need to show these ideas work not just in a report but on the business frontline,” said Dr. Amy Jadesimi, CEO of LADOL, a Nigerian logistics and infrastructure development company, and a member of the Commission.