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The Global Goals’ Business Opportunity in Africa

Blogs 17/03/2017

By Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Chair, Business & Sustainable Development Commission, former UNDP Administrator and Ex-UN Deputy Secretary-General, and UK Minister of State for Africa, Asia and the United Nations


A critical transition from a heavy reliance on international public development finance to locally generated private sector solutions to development problems is underway. Earlier this year, the Business & Sustainable Development Commission launched its flagship report, Better Business, Better World, which makes the case for why the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer the private sector a growth strategy that opens new market value and helps solve significant social and environmental challenges at the same time. The Commission shows how sustainable business models could unlock economic opportunities across 60 “hot spots” worth up to USD 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 USD 1.1 trillion and create over 85 million new jobs by 2030.

Digital solutions and entrepreneurs will be critical to unlocking many of these new opportunities. In Africa, entrepreneurs are bringing new solutions to social and environmental problems in remarkable ways. Affordable housing is one market hot spot that could create over 13 million jobs. In the case of food, Africa offers significant opportunities, reflecting the continent’s large share of cropland and currently low levels of productivity. Health and well-being opportunities are concentrated in developing countries, where access is currently low.

Investments in African tech start-ups have been increasing — up nearly 17% in 2016 over the previous year. In Rwanda, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa and Kenya, digital technologies are breaking new ground, bringing life-changing products and services to underserved communities. South Africa’s Vula app, for example, connects rural health workers to specialist support and information, boosting the level of patient care. In Rwanda, where motorcycles account for 80% of traffic accidents, compared to 23% globally, the SafeMotos app allows customers to catch a moto ride with a driver equipped with technology that monitors speed, acceleration and GPS location, making for a safer journey.

Read the full blog on Development Matters

Press release

Unlock the potential of African entrepreneurs for accelerating Africa’s industrial transformation, says the African Economic Outlook 2017

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AfricanEconomicOutlook.org  offers comprehensive and comparable data and analysis of 54 African economies.