Social investors root for fixing of financial system
Social entrepreneurs have agreed to collaborate in creating resilient, equitable and sustainable systems for African communities.
The stakeholders who spoke at the fifth edition of the Annual African Conference on Social Entrepreneurship held in hybrid format on November 25-26 also rooted for solutions that directly address community issues with a positive impact on society.
They noted that while there was an inspiration during the Covid-19 pandemic through creativity on digital platforms, most of them have also been affected by restrictions meant to curb the spread of the disease such as lockdown and curfews.
According to Ashoka, an international organisation that promotes social entrepreneurship, 53 per cent of social entrepreneurs anticipate a funding shortfall of over 40 per cent this year.
Over 33 per cent are concerned that funding is becoming more short-term while 26 per cent found that funding is moving away from their field.
Delegates who attended the forum proposed that the issue could be fixed by creating a social business financial system, where businesses are not only making money but also changing society.
Ashoka Regional Director for East Africa Vincent Odhiambo said social entrepreneurs proved their agility and innovativeness when dealing with the huge changes created by the pandemic.
“The resilience of social enterprises in a time of crisis creates an opportunity to refine our existing socio-economic model with a more inclusive way of doing business,” he said.
“Majority of them modified their business models and increased their operations online. Such adjustments will ensure that despite shocks experienced in our systems, solutions to social problems remain sustainable.”
Climate change discussions also took centre stage as stakeholders examined the devastating effects on the lives with a heavy bearing on agriculture.
According to the International Council for Research in Agroforestry (Icraf), increasing temperatures and sea levels, changing precipitation patterns and more extreme weather have posed a threat to Africa’s development and food security.
It called on businesses to adjust or change the supply chain to be environmentally sustainable and have a more positive bearing on the environment.
Conclusions from the discussion highlighted the need to balance people and wealth with zero net carbon emission, zero wealth concentration and zero unemployment by unleashing entrepreneurship.
The director of the Institute for Social Transformation at Tangaza University College, Jonas Dzinekou, said social entrepreneurs have created jobs across the region and boosted underserved communities.
“Social entrepreneurs serve a social purpose, sustaining livelihoods that build strong communities and support groups hitherto side-lined by traditional business models,” he said.
The conference was attended by over 500 people from Africa and the world including entrepreneurs, academicians, researchers, investors and policymakers.