Often, we only look at governments and individuals as donors to humanitarian causes.
Occasionally, businesses will also contribute to their favourite cause. But what if a business throughout its normal course of commercial activity could, in fact, assist in reducing poverty.
It is a trend that has been emerging for several years and identifies that the words “profit” and “poverty reduction” can be included in the same sentence.
Africa is one of the continents where you see massaged business plans that allow businesses to profit while working to reduce poverty.
Cellphone sharing was one tangible program to effect change in certain parts of Africa.
On many levels, the cellphone can be a tool to assist locals in many aspects of their life from fraud protected money transfers, using cell phones to identify new grazing areas for cattle and sheep farmers.
The challenge became one of assisting the population to get access to a cellphone. Obviously in the poorer areas, a cellphone is cost prohibitive.
Cellphone companies began offering shared cellphone opportunities to residents to reduce the cost of ownership.
In this situation, farming productivity could increase, community safety increased and less banking fraud was committed.
Of course, in the process a company made money.
Many businesses are initiated with a philanthropic value at their core and a certain type of business, a Certified B Corporation, allows you to demonstrate the philosophy by putting emphasis on charity as well as the bottom line.
Hopefully, the trend continues and the associated tax benefits might entice more unproductive offshore money to be repatriated and deployed in to philanthropic sectors.
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This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.