Competitiveness through ethical behavior

Sustainability and ethical behavior are key factors for attracting Nordic companies to invest and do business in Africa. Ruth Brännvall from Impact Invest, and a part of the CTS team who joined the Zimbabwean and Zambian Chambers annual meetings in June, spoke on competitiveness. Ruth gave an overview and a roadmap forward challenging the chambers to take the lead on addressing sustainability, ethics and corruption. Business should not copy the corrupt behaviors of many governments in Africa and has an important role to show leadership on ethical behavior. One of these challenges has been taken up by the Zambian Chamber of Commerce who are developing a Code of Good Practice on Ethics for themselves for their members.

On important message to individual companies attending the respective chambers AGM is that there is no time to wait for governments to improve the business climate. Ludvig Olsson from Scandinavian Purchasing Group, pointed to several areas which drive competitiveness on a company level such as innovation, value addition, efficient and sustainable production, supply chain logistics, new sources for market intelligence and maybe most importantly to improve management and leadership. Each area is an opportunity for the chambers to deliver both networks and services to their member companies.

Zambia’s Honorable Margaret Mwanakatwe, Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, challenged the companies in Zambia to shape up their businesses and become more competitiveness.
“You guys and ladies, have the potential. Actualizing that potential is the real challenge. I encourage you to do a real transformation. Think out of the box. No, throw out the box and think freely! Manufacturing in Zambia contributes to only 3 % of our employment and 8% of our GDP. This, my friends, is not enough.”

CTS are continuing the cooperation with the chambers in Zimbabwe and Zambia throughout the year and will focus on industrial developement, ADR and mentorship.