Research update: inclusive business strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa

NGOs seem to give relatively higher priority to issues of inclusiveness than companies doing business in Africa. This is one of the findings of a survey of 75 businesses and NGOs from the Netherlands and six African countries, performed by The Partnerships Resource Centre (PrC) at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) together with the Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC), and the Eastern and Southern Management Institute (ESAMI) Business School.

The survey also found that there are considerable differences between businesses when it comes to inclusion. And no matter who is embarking on the challenge of inclusive business in Africa ‒ be it NGOs or companies ‒ they all face challenges in integrating socially-relevant issues into their core operations.

The survey was conducted by the INCLUDE research group called ‘Inclusive Business Strategies in Africa’ (in which PrC participates) and is discussed on the INCLUDE online platform.

One striking result of the survey is that organisations define and frame inclusiveness in many different ways. The most common obstacles organisations encounter in becoming more inclusive are shortages of skilled workers and limited financial resources.

Based on the results of the first survey, the research team is preparing a second survey to sharpen its understanding of inclusive business, related motivations and barriers faced by companies doing business in Africa.

The full article is published on the INCLUDE platform here. For more information about the Inclusive Business Strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa project, contact Siri Lijfering (, researcher and project officer at the Partnerships Resource Centre.

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Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s leading business schools, and ranked among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in Chengdu, China, and Taipei, Taiwan.

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