Business can fight poverty

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. 

To learn more take a look at the following links:



This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More A Focus on Saving Lives articles

About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for more than 40 years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business.

He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the U.K. in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories