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Africa Rising: The ABLC's Collaborative Blueprint for a Greener, More Equitable Future

The Africa Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC), created by the United Nations Global Compact with the help of BCG, unites influential enterprises across the continent, embodying over $150 billion of economic might. With a focus on climate change and gender equity, this coalition exemplifies how collaboration can propel impactful change.

The Opportunity

Stretching across six time zones, from the windswept Atlantic shores to the Indian Ocean's sunlit beaches, and across 54 nations populated by over 1.4 billion people, Africa represents a continent of unparalleled diversity and complexity. More than that, it represents the rich potential of a pluralistic world.

By 2050, one in four people globally will be African. The continent's path to prosperity will overcome a boom in population, fast urbanization, climate change. And, it will support acceleration in positive health, education, and economic outcomes. Africa’s potential is more pronounced than ever. It's unstoppable.

The private sector is essential to this potential. Today, private enterprises and companies across the continent are fragmented across geographies but aligned in their mandate to bring about societal impact. Transcending national and regional boundaries to act together with a common sense of purpose is imperative.

The UN Global Compact plays a crucial role in supporting this progress and engaging governments and the private sector to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in African countries. The Africa Business Leaders Coalition offers a strategic approach, emphasizing collaboration and unified action to leverage collective strength for sustainable development and inclusive growth.

Our Approach

Leveraging its own resources and strengths, Africa is on a path to creating unified strategies that work for its diverse populations. The ABLC, built over a three-year collaboration between the UN Global Compact and BCG, is an important part of this mission.

From the beginning, the ABLC set a goal of bringing over 100 companies representing US$150 billion in economic might together to form a pan-African coalition and develop a common voice for the African private sector. Together, they would aim to address the most pressing issues facing Africa and the world today, beginning with climate change and gender equality. Over a series of engagements, BCG and the UN Global Compact focused on key areas:

Uniting for Collective Action

Scaling impact through coordination

Elevating global visibility and commitment

Measuring success

The Result

The Africa Business Leaders Coalition has made significant strides since its inception. Launching the coalition as the first united voice of Africa's private sector toward impactful change was a pivotal moment for the continent’s private sector. At COP27 in 2022, 56 companies signed a statement on climate action, with more joining the coalition in the following years.

As of 2024, the coalition’s members span all 54 African countries, collectively generate USD 150 billion in revenue, and employ nearly 1 million people. Since 2022, the coalition has achieved significant progress on a number of key dimensions:

  • Twice as many companies considered climate risks in their decision-making in 2023.
  • The number of companies preparing resilience plans to take on climate challenges proactively increased by 150%.
  • Nearly twice as many companies set specific targets to increase the share of renewables in their energy use.
  • The number of companies actively reducing emissions grew by 35% in 2023.
  • A trend formed, with 23 companies developing company-level “just transition” plans in 2023—in 2022, only three had done so.
  • Progress has been made as companies have set ambitious targets for renewable energy use, decarbonizing operations, and disclosing emissions data.

The members of the ABLC have begun shining a spotlight on gender equality in 2024 and beyond, working to ensure that equality is a concerted focus throughout the continent. While progress has been made, the coalition is poised to continue its work in unlocking the potential of women in the workforce.

Through private-public collaboration, promotion of mentorship and networking, and support for work-life balance initiatives, the ABLC can significantly reduce gender driven disparities, fostering an environment where women's economic participation is fully valued and equitable by 2029.

Further plans include expanding coalition membership, improving participation of women in the economy, and reinforcing the coalition’s position as a leading force for sustainable and socially responsible action in Africa and around the world.

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