DEVELOPMENT TOPICS: Social justice and advocacy
Social and economic inequality are pronounced in Africa. A 2019 Oxfam report shows that Africa’s three richest billionaires have more wealth than the poorest 650 million on the continent. Seven of the ten most unequal countries in the world are found in Africa.
African women and girls are more likely than men to experience poverty, do unpaid work, and lack access to education and skills development. There is also typically a divide between urban and rural areas, with urban areas receiving better resources and services. Human rights abuses and corruption lead to further inequality, creating a vicious cycle of deprivation. For this reason – and because deepening inequality threatens regional stability, progress and opportunities for future generations – it is important to fund social justice and advocacy initiatives.
Companies investing in social justice and advocacy
The private sector needs to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, when it comes to inequality. This makes good business sense, since safeguarding people’s rights and opportunities makes them healthier, more productive, more prosperous citizens. The ways in which the private sector can support social justice and advocacy include funding research, legal services, pro-democracy initiatives, supporting media freedom, fighting corruption, supporting whistleblowers, and raising awareness of constitutional rights.
Why is social justice and advocacy important?
Although we live in a vastly unequal world, everyone should enjoy the same rights, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, or wealth and status.
Equality before the law is one thing, but acknowledging people’s basic humanity is another, and goes right to the heart of development. Investing in social justice means funding measures to scrutinise power structures, systemic inequality, and the uneven distribution of wealth, resources, opportunities and social benefits. This is vital if people are to achieve their full potential and help to grow their economies.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led some companies to rethink their purpose and prioritise inclusive growth, By intentionally creating opportunities for everyone, they aim to become more sustainable. They advocate for their employees and the communities in which they work – as such, they enjoy a good reputation and are employers of choice.