Optimising Shared Value Partnerships for Social Impact in Africa

by Amref Health Africa

The global development space is constantly changing and private sector organisations are continuously pursuing strategies to optimise economic, and social impact through robust operational and leadership transformation.

As a result, different organisations have heavily invested in developing highly adaptable strategic plans partnership frameworks aimed at fostering cooperation among different actors across diverse sectors while focusing on organisational strategic goals and long-term objectives. The global health agenda has not been isolated in this move, especially with non-state actors, bilateral and multilateral bodies, governments and the private sector – all on a race to transformation.

Amref Health Africa deploys its convening capabilities and thought leadership agenda to create new shared value ecosystems on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) among diverse partners in Africa. For instance, Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) convened by Amref every two years provides a platform to foster new ideas and home-grown solutions to the continent’s most pressing health challenges.  It has become one of the greatest platforms for fostering both conventional and non-conventional partnerships aimed at spearheading reforms in the health sector to ensure accessible and affordable health for all. This is in addition to its community-led interventions in addressing Africa’s health challenges.

Public-private partnerships remain a significant mechanism through which Amref achieves its mission. Working with Philips (a Dutch company) and the County Government of Makueni, Amref has leveraged a win-win approach in promoting innovation and creating demand for health products. The approach involves building robust and sustainable value chains for socio-economic value, and to enhance capacity of county staff, while developing health products and technologies – which are solutions to health problems for the hard to reach communities. 

As new challenges continuously emerge, the need for shared value partnerships is underscored. A recent case scenario is the global COVID-19 pandemic that hit the global health sector in late 2019. A quick overview on the responses and interventions made by big and fairly small institutions demonstrates the roles played by different bodies and diverse approaches that came into play. For instance, in Kenya, the National Business Compact on Corona Virus was launched immediately WHO termed COVID-19 a pandemic and within a week of the first corona case in the country. This was enabled by a Presidential Directive that had established a structure for multi-stakeholder engagement.

According to National Business Compact on Corona’s (NBCC’s) 2020 impact report, over KS. 100M was mobilised in cash and a further KS. 3.7 as grant from Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO). Multiple organisations also supported governments containment measures by adhering to the calls to let employees work from home, ensuring the masks protocols were observed within their premises. Private hospitals have also supported the vaccine roll-out efforts contributing to the overall containment and management of the virus. These examples provide a clear picture of how agile shared value partnerships can be optimised to address global challenges, accelerate the achievement of SDGs, and support post pandemic recovery strategies.

Optimising such approaches requires concerted efforts toward increased proactive dialogue with governments, private sector, and civil society to enable and strengthen the environment for public private partnerships. Since shared value partnerships are multi-sectoral, multi-dimensional and non-linear, they require substantive unrestricted investment to development actors to enable co-creation and innovation of approaches that can address existing and emerging health challenges.

Allocation of Corporate Social Investment (CSI) budgets by some private sector organisations is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough. The approach is to scale up existing collaborations while forging and cultivating new collaborations premised on shared value. Safaricom has already demonstrated this by integrating the SDGs into its corporate strategy, in turn transforming millions of lives as evidenced in its March 2019 annual report. This success presents important lessons that can be used to stimulate conversations on Shared Value Partnerships while engaging with the private sector and governments.

By Corazon E. Aquino

Partnerships Engagement & Hub Manager,

Amref Health Africa.

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