Theme: Economic Empowerment through Responsible Business Practices


Building on the conversation during ARB 2018, which highlighted the reality of extreme poverty, environmental degradation, unemployment, inequality and poor access to healthcare and education in sub-Saharan Africa. With a mere 17 per cent of the world population, Africa alone harbours 43 per cent of the world’s extremely poor. Clearly, too many Africans have been left out of the development process and for many, life is often nasty, brutish and short. Businesses are among the most informed and influential institutions the world over with revenues and operations sometimes outstripping those of national governments and with real power to affect society positively.

Businesses must appreciate that profitability, while still important, cannot be the ultimate bottom-line alone. Increasingly, societal problems are becoming central to businesses and only businesses who dedicate themselves to solving these problems can ultimately be successful and sustainable in the long term.

The ARB Forum will aggregate, showcase and highlight responsible business practices on the continent. We will have a range of sessions, plenary, and case study presentations on topics including:

  • Financing Africa’s Sustainable Development (Sustainable Finance, Impact Investing, Social Impact, Green and Climate Funds)
  • Innovation for the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP targeting and integrated business models, products and services)
  • Social Entrepreneurship (Building business for social return on investments as well as financial returns)

Continental and Global Goals in Focus


GOAL 1 – A High Standard of Living, Quality of Life and Well Being for All Citizens

GOAL 2 – Well Educated Citizens and Skills revolution underpinned by Science, Technology and Innovation

GOAL 4 – Transformed Economies

GOAL 7 – Environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient economies and communities


GOAL 1 – End poverty in all its forms everywhere



GOAL 8 – Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all



GOAL 12 – Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns





Responsible businesses are principle and value-driven, demonstrating in addition to profit-making activities, consideration for employees, customers, suppliers and the wider society. The ARB Forum will showcase how African businesses are attempting to be responsible, and provide an avenue for collaboration, innovation and learning for responsible business practices in Africa. While the primary focus of The ARB Forum will be on the role of the private sector, it will also include considerations of how the public sector and civil society can work with the private sector to contribute to the sustainable development of Africa.



Africa is transforming, and as the continent experiences change including an increase in the rate of urbanisation, and an expansion of the working population, the level of consumption and the rate of industrialisation will change. But to what end will this industrialisation and expansion of Africa be? There is an opportunity for the continent to channel its economic and industrial development, in such a way as to ensure that businesses operate responsibly and contribute to the holistic vision of economic development, social and environmental development.