Top business leaders are Tuesday, Nov 20. expected to attend the Private Sector Forum at Kampala Sheraton Hotel where they will brainstorm on the opportunities and relevance of corporate social impact investment in Uganda.
Officials say the event will go along away in interesting more companies to invest in social projects that create more social impacts in various communities.
Some of the key speakers are the function include Barbara Kasekende, Impact Investment Manager, Stanbic, Flora Aduk, Communications Manager, Nile Breweries and Josephine Kaleebi, Social Development practitioner among others.
The Private Sector Forum is envisaged to serve as integral platform for private sector actors and organizations that have an inherent interest in supporting and making positive impacts on the economic and social life of local communities through Corporate Social Impact Investment.
The PSF is expected to generate and stimulate discussions on the opportunities, benefits, challenges and what is being done in the CSI ecosystem as well as a better understanding of the concept.
CSII has evolved over the past decade, Since the term was coined at the Rockefeller Foundation’s 1996 Bellagio Conference, the Corporate Social impact investment industry has steadily grown, and as a result, a growing range of actors are emerging in the market to form an ecosystem consisting of social ventures, intermediaries and investors committed to addressing social needs as well as seeking financial value.
Today it constitutes one of the most proactive and promising approaches on the responsible investment continuum, representing a huge opportunity to contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063, as well as the promotion of inclusive and green businesses.
In Uganda, Corporate Social Impact Investment has come a long way. there is a growing number of domestic companies in Uganda that have developed an interest in CSII.
There exist some formal CSI practices by a few companies in Uganda and these are usually done by large, high profile national and multinational companies, especially those with recognized international brands or those aspiring to a global status.
Nile breweries Ltd run the Eagle Project which promotes sustainable growing of sorghum in Northern Uganda. Others with such initiatives include companies such as MTN Uganda, Standard chartered Bank, Total, Kakira Sugar Ltd, etc.
Companies have since realised the promotion of doing business and investing in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, contributes to the strengthening of bonds between companies and communities, and fosters long-term sustainable outcomes making trade and investments more competitive and attractive.
These companies and organizations also have a holistic approach of CSII based upon the international understanding of the concept.
However, there is little knowledge and awareness on CSI as an integral business approach. The ecosystem here is not very formalized or institutionalized.
The CSI benchmarks commonly used in developed countries, i.e. CSI codes, standards, management systems and reports, are largely absent in Uganda according to CSII Country scan Uganda 2016 by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Uganda and MVO Nederland.
Moreover, there are no clear cut statutory guidelines or legal and policy frameworks that are meant to direct or to give a definitive direction to CSII initiatives for companies.
Government in particular has an integral role in the ecosystem, in terms of promoting responsible business practices regarding CSII.
The role of the government is to support sustainable development by providing supportive legal policies and setting conditions for the enabling (or hindering) environment as well as potential indirect or direct engagement in the market.
Framework conditions (e.g. tax and regulation) have a significant impact on the social impact investment market.
Speakers will comment on the view that Government should also look at CSII as an integral part of its strategic objectives and actively promote it in order to maximize the positive contribution of CSI to sustainable development.
The event is organised by the African Centre for Trade and Development (ACTADE), a Ugandan Non-Governmental Organization that works to promote the enjoyment of social, political and economic rights by all and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), a German political foundation working to promote democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and solidarity around the world.