Catalyst 2030’s African Chapters launched Africa Forward, a co-created initiative aimed at accelerating actions that place the continent’s pressing challenges at the heart of collaborative, partnership-driven opportunities, during Catalysing Change Week on Africa Day, 11th May 2022. The flagship week-long conference designed and curated by social entrepreneurs took place from 9th to 13th May 2022. 

The launch featured an open letter already signed by hundreds of organisations in the sector, which called on donors to adhere to its set principles of systemic change, such as creating transformative rather than transactional relationships and investing in capacity building in the organisations they fund. 

The event was free to individuals, organisations and government representatives who are interested or involved in social change, social entrepreneurship and innovation to attain the SDGs.

Speakers at the launch session included African changemakers: James Mwangi (Dalberg), NdidiNwuneli (SahelConsulting), Patrick Awuah (Asheshi University), Wamuyu Mahinda ( Collaborative Values Partners) and Luvuyo Rani( Silulo Ulutho technologies).

“Africa is rapidly expanding and evolving as socio-economic, political, technological and cultural changes sweep the continent. There is an emerging, urgent need for effective, local entrepreneurial innovations to explore ways to alleviate a myriad of systemic problems – unemployment, endemic poverty, sluggish economic growth and a lack of enterprise support mechanisms in many countries,” Patrick Awuah, founder Ashesi University said at the Launch.  

The Africa Forward initiative 

“The African Chapters of Catalyst 2030, which have more than 140 members, have co-created Africa Forward, an initiative that aims to rapidly accelerate actions that place African challenges at the heart of collaborative, partnership-driven opportunities with a vision to speed up the attainment of the SDGs,” said Ndidi Nwuneli of Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Ltd, at the Africa Forward launch.

This initiative will achieve its goals by: 

  • Showcasing policy imperatives that create an enabling environment for social entrepreneurs to thrive.
  • Providing clear steps for donors, bi-lateral and multi-lateral organizations and other partners who want to help scale up the impact social entrepreneurs can have across Africa 
  • Pooling resources to scale up the impact of sustainable and mature ecosystems where a sector shares essential skills and services and can tap into new connected networks. 

“Africa Forward is a call to action that seeks to rewrite the narrative about Africa by showing the rest of the world its true strength and capabilities,” Ndidi Nwuneli said.

Future activities 

For two years, on the 11th of every month, Africa Forward will invite key policymakers in African countries to engage with member-led initiatives.

These interventions are intended to open doors for the continent’s dynamic social entrepreneurship sector and help reframe the narrative around funding, leadership and education.

Through this initiative, we will track and monitor the impact created. The initiative will provide guidance on promoting entrepreneurship on the continent to capitalise on new opportunities.

Listed below are the four critical actions of the call: 

Action 1. Funding: Re-direct approaches to funding to ensure at least 50 per cent of all domestic and international funding goes to African-led organisations directly, without intermediaries, and with considerations for youth and gender.

Action 2. Leadership: Restructure the approach to African narratives by focusing on African representation on boards of organisations that affect Africans, avoiding tokenism.

Action 3. Scale: Integrate Africa’s collective technical capacity and grow social enterprise ecosystems to nurture, and scale investment-ready, and sustainable social enterprises. 

Action 4. Network creation: Evolve the social enterprise and entrepreneurial ecosystem to create strong, supportive, and collaborative local and regional networks.

Africa Forward is committed to achieving goals that will help the social enterprise ecosystem realise the SDGs in different chapters across the continent through partnerships and teamwork with local and international supporters.

For this to be successful the initiative relies on collective effort. All people and organisations involved in the initiative must translate analysis into an act to create conducive conditions to build domestic value chains, create local wealth, enable economic opportunities and lay the foundation for sustained peace and economic security.

About Catalyst 2030

Catalyst 2030 is a global movement of social entrepreneurs and social innovators from all sectors who share the common goal of creating innovative, people-centric approaches to attain the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Joining forces with communities, governments, businesses and others, Catalyst 2030 members are changing systems at all levels through collective action and bold, new strategies.

Launched at the World Economic Forum in January 2020, Catalyst 2030 comprises more than 1,500 people and organisations who are active in over 180 countries and who directly reach an estimated two billion people. We believe in collective action and those bold new strategies are needed to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

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