Amanz’ abantu means ‘water for the people’ in Xhosa, Ndebele and Zulu. Amanz’ Abantu Services, Ltd., established as a private South African company in 1997, aimed to provide water supply and sanitation for peri-urban and rural communities in the Eastern Cape, where a quarter of the population lacked potable water. The company pipes water meeting international quality standards to sites where individuals can access standpipes using smartcard technology. Before the arrival of Amanz’ Abantu, villagers—mainly rural women—had to walk up to several hours to obtain water from the nearest river.
The need for antiretroviral treatment in South Africa is acute. Without significant changes, current projections indicate that 3.5 million South Africans will die of AIDS-related infections by 2010. In 1997, Stephen Saad sold his shares in the Covan Zurich pharmaceutical company and, along with two others, founded Aspen Pharmacare with $7 million. Its goal: to build a major pharmaceutical manufacturer capable of supplying the South African market with brand name, generic and over-the-counter medicines at affordable prices.
Of Uganda’s 21 million people, more than 2 million live in small towns with poor water supplies. Most people in these towns are low income, and their lack of water aggravates poverty and encourages diseases. Initially, reforms in water and sanitation came through government-sponsored boreholes in villages across the country.
For decades during apartheid South Africa’s public authorities neglected the education of the vast majority of the country’s people—now referred to as the historically disadvantaged. In the new South African economy, there are big needs for skilled and educated workers to sustain development. But post-secondary education is not free, and most historically disadvantaged people do not have money to pay. Nor do they qualify for traditional modes of financing.
After decades of violence, segregation and inequality during apartheid, South Africa has made significant efforts to bring equality and stability through structural shifts in its economy. Two South African banks, Rand Merchant Bank and Nedbank, are developing innovative financial products targeted at South Africa’s low-income housing market. Both projects, planned for public rollout in 2007, are in line with the Voluntary Financial Services Charter, a black economic empowerment strategy designed by the private sector with government support.
he Chaka Group, created in 1994 by the Senegalese entrepreneur Meissa Deguene Ngom, is comprised of three units: Chaka Computer, Call Me and Money Express. The case focuses on Money Express and its benefits for the poor. From the outset, Money Express’s goal was to be the market leader in transfer and remittance services for West African immigrants in Europe and the United States. To send money from abroad, Money Express clients need only a Senegalese or West African passport.
Sanofi-aventis, the largest pharmaceutical company in Europe and the fourth-largest in the world, began a partnership with the World Health Organization in 2001 to fight sleeping sickness and other neglected diseases affecting the world’s poorest people. Initial discussions with the World Health Organization showed that a simple drug donation was not enough. Only combined action—drug donation, subsidies to fund distribution programmes and new research and development to improve treatments and diagnostics—could create a reasonable chance to bring sleeping sickness back under control.
Pésinet, devised in 2002 by Brussels-based Afrique Initiatives, is an early warning method for monitoring the health conditions of children from low-income families. Its concept is simple: mothers subscribe to Pésinet’s services for a nominal fee, and in return a local Pésinet representative weighs her children twice a week. Results are communicated through information and communications technologies to a local doctor, who reviews the weight chart and requests that the mother and child visit if the weight readings are anomalously low and medical treatment might be required.
Today, cotton is the main source of income for 20 million people and accounts for up to 60% of national export earnings in West and Central Africa. Since 1999, however, African producers have suffered from successive price falls—with no guarantee for farmers that the selling price will allow them to earn a return on investment and recoup the production costs. African producers are disproportionately vulnerable, often working with old-fashioned tools on family plots but competing with highly subsidized producers from rich countries.
Tiviski is Africa’s first camel milk dairy, founded by Nancy Abeiderrahmane in 1987 in Mauritania—an arid desert nation, where most of the 3 million inhabitants live as nomadic livestock herders, keeping camels, sheep, goats and cows. It now also processes cow and goat milk for domestic consumption. Tiviski sources all of its milk from semi-nomadic subsistence herders, enabling them to earn incomes while still maintaining a traditional lifestyle. Fresh camel milk and other milk products have replaced dairy products imported from Europe, bolstering the Mauritania’s economy.