• Friday, February 23, 2024
businessday logo


Prosperity and growth: How do they go hand in hand?


Companies talk about market ‘share’ or being a market ‘leader’, and as we know, a leadership role is rarely a stagnant position. Being a leader is also defined differently – for some, it is about having the largest stake, highest revenue or the most customers in that market. For others, it is about having sustainable and long-term growth trajectory (personal growth as much as revenue growth). This article will discuss, how we can both achieve growth and be sustainable.


Some questions are, why do businesses want to enter the African market, especially Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Nigeria specifically? Is it to fit the demand from their clients on sustainable products and contribute to global prosperity; or is it to achieve a greater market share and be the first-mover in a specific African country?


Your skills in comparison to others:Comparative advantage is not only about strength, it’s about agility in the market. The question is, how will companies adapt to the new target of sustainability? The impact-driven ecosystem is still being defined and at its infancy on a corporate level, despite the concept having been a global focus for decades.


The concept of sustainable development (which includes prosperity), evolved overtime and it’snota new economic thought.It started before the 19thcentury and is rooted in our human nature to help. The theories further evolved with religion or spiritual writings, such as Buddhism, and was formalised in the mid-1900s, when the United Nations was officially created.


Therefore, corporate sustainability isn’t a newly invented business term. It is the fruit of decades of commitments, debates, and leaders coming together with the common goal of tackling pressing humanitarian, social and economic issues. Overall, people coming together to contribute to global prosperity.


Let’s stop – pause – and think on how we can both grow and contribute to prosperity.


What am I good at as a company? How will I add value and increase the ROI (return on investment) for my investors with sustainable products? What is my market strategy to enter in Nigeria or emerging markets? How agile are my people and management to adapt in to this new context?


It is not a new era, such as the digital era, where companies ‘would like to’ incorporate a social strategy to their business model. It is an overall shift in how markets and governments are interlinked, tied with a common thread of sustainable growth – that is rooted in our values as human-beings to do better in this world.


Making your business model sustainable is now the big topic – and finding a way to do it meaningfully, without impacting your bottom-line is the struggle the market is seeing.”


Trust your investment: Economic prosperity can be achieved once we understand our individual values and communicate them – as discussed in the previous column of GrowthViewEconomic benefit of collaboration – A value not shared in the game of monopoly. Now this article is about the values which we have based on trust.


The same applies when we elect someone into office, there is an intrinsic value of trust. Do you trust your representative to engage on your behalf? Are your values aligned to the values of your government? Without trust, we cannot achieve either growth or prosperity.


Your money will contribute to prosperity: Shareholders are shifting their investments in stock markets, away from equity investments and increasingly turning them towards sustainable and impact investments.


Our choices and decisions as individuals, aligned with our values will drive tangible change in our economies – both in Nigeria and internationally.”


As we discussed earlier, prosperity and collaboration are shaping how businesses build their strategies, what is most important to a company is its bottom-line. So, how can a corporate strategy in emerging markets, achieve greater returns and adopt a value-driven business model?


Values on Prosperity: Communicating and defining values is the first stage. Once we understand what we individually want, need and are interested in, then companies (same as people) can design a new business model aligned to these values. For example, the priorities I have as a mother with my children, or as the father working to support my family – these are long-term values. Similarly, what values have I nurtured over the years and want to help others with?


Corporate Strategies: These seek for the “next-generation” business model, which focus on sustainability. How will they know their comparative advantage? Similar to a presidential election, knowing your values, your strengths and where you have competitive advantages in comparison to your opponents.


Choose clear sector and impact goals:Health, educationand women economic empowerment contribute to both prosperity and growth. These sectors are measurable and tangible. As individuals, let’s communicate these priorities to help donors, corporates and governments turn their investment priorities to these growth sectors.


“What” to fund and “where”, are the big questions posed by C-levels, as they see the equity market dipping and UHNW (ultra-high net worth) investors asking for their money to achieve a social and economic impact.


In sum, prosperity and growth go hand in hand, as long as we communicate and take our time in building-out sustainable investments. It is for companies to identify the high-return sectors that will benefit from the local skills,viable demand and comparative advantage globally.


Some key takeaways for both individuals and businesses:


  1. Donors &corporates to be transparent on their 2019 strategies
  2. Investors should share their values
  3. Identify your comparative advantage
  4. Invest actively rather than passively
  5. Sustainability does not stop growth


Christina Wehbe