African businesses have been urged to find ways of creating more value for communities. Picture: Reuters
Cape Town - African businesses have been urged to find ways of creating more value for communities.

Barclays Africa head of Citizenship, Sazini Mojapelo, said businesses have to change their practices and shift focus from extracting value to contributing positively to communities in which they operate.

Mojapelo was speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural Africa Shared Value Summit in Johannesburg, which started on Thursday, where she delivered a keynote address.

Creating shared value has existed as a business strategy for more than 10 years.

But it’s the first time the subject has been the primary focus of a conference in Africa with the two-day summit.

Mojapelo said business’s societal contribution has moved from grant making and pure philanthropy to examining how businesses can make a real impact in a community.

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“The Africa Shared Value Summit looks at how we can get tri-sector leaders to hold hands and tackle social issues that we face,” Mojapelo said.

She added that there were very few businesses across the continent that had made a shift towards creating shared value.

She said, for its part, Barclays Africa made a strategic decision to investigate ways of working so that the company could be part of a meaningful and sustainable impact in communities where they operate.

As areas of focus for it to create value in communities, Barclays Africa chose education and skills, enterprise development to support and train entrepreneurs, and financial inclusion to bank the unbanked.

Mojapelo said Barclays Africa will invest R1.4 billion in education over the next three years, and will have invested R500 million in university scholarships across its markets by 2018.

“In 2016, we paid academic fees for 2000 students across South African universities. We want to be part of the solution and create sustained value for communities.

“We’re working closely with universities to ensure that the most deserving students get funding,” Mojapelo said.