Harnessing the power of societal impact initiatives to reimagine Africa, together

Dion Shango Territory Senior Partner for PwC’s East, West and South Market regions in Africa, PwC South Africa March 03, 2021

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Perceptions of the role of business in society have changed dramatically. There’s greater focus on how organisations impact the world around them - affecting climate change, responsible investment, sustainable value chains, social mobility and inclusion and equality. Society expects more from the organisations we engage with. Businesses need to have a purpose that addresses societal challenges while making profit, rather than exclusively focusing on financial returns to shareholders. Add COVID-19 and its associated challenges into the mix, and there’s no doubt that a focused societal purpose strategy is imperative for any business that wants to have a sustainable impact.  

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. Yes, we’re a business, but we’re also in the business of contributing to society by helping others thrive, particularly in these challenging times in which we find ourselves, on the African continent and indeed across the globe.

This is a critical time for business, educators, government and other stakeholders to work together in a more agile, resilient and inclusive manner, by committing to a meaningful and sustained investment in societal purpose.

Group of people standing in front of a window

So how do we as PwC Africa go about investing in our societal purpose? We use the business skills we have, the knowledge we possess, and the tools at our disposal to promote greater opportunity for all, in the areas in which we know we can make a difference. In doing so, we’re focusing on areas where we know we can have the most impact for our clients, our people and our communities. We’re acutely aware that for such initiatives to succeed, we need to look at things differently, try new approaches and combine forces with like-minded organisations or initiatives to deliver.

We know we can’t be all things to all people, so when we looked at where we needed to focus most, we were guided by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development goals, or SDGs, adopted by all UN Member States as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

Man in a office

I’m proud to note that our Africa firm is already making a significant contribution to our key focus areas of good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, reducing inequalities, and climate action.

  • Our commitment to net zero, for instance has been well articulated, in line with our global firm’s commitment to this priority.
  • On the topic of digital skills, and noting their critical role in today’s world, our ‘New world. New skills.’ initiative is making significant inroads in the area of upskilling, including making our Digital Fitness app publicly available, free of charge.
  • Understanding that the private sector has a responsibility to contribute to the empowerment and advancement of all, including those who are marginalized due to the geographies in which they live, we partner with skills development organisations to impart essential business skills and support. We’ve entered into a local collaboration with UNICEF to help prepare young people with relevant skills to enter the workforce. This is part of a three-year global collaboration between PwC and UNICEF in support of Generation Unlimited, a multi-sector partnership aimed at helping 1.8 billion young people transition from school to work by 2030.
  • Through our partnership with the UN Women's HeForShe initiative, we’re working towards achieving global gender equality in the workplace and beyond.

These are just some of the initiatives we’re proudly involved with, and throughout our Africa region there are many more. It’s also imperative for a societal purpose strategy to be firmly integrated into the organisation’s business strategy, and supported by the organisation's purpose and core values. 

For us it’s about being a responsible citizen, supporting and growing our firm, our people, our clients and our communities. 


Contact us

Dion Shango

Dion Shango

Territory Senior Partner for PwC’s East, West and South Market regions in Africa, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 4166