ProjectAnalysis of the African Social Enterprise Ecosystem for the World Bank

Project context

As the African governments and traditional market players struggle to deliver services to the poorest segments of society, social innovations continue to emerge, primarily led by private enterprises, community-based organizations, NGOs and hybrid models like public-private partnerships. Indeed, Africa is one of the most vibrant and dynamic regional markets for social enterprises, yet lack of robust institutional infrastructure and financial and capacity building support available (especially in the early stages) among other aspects, which have hindered the progress of social enterprises, with only a few success-stories of operational scale-up and corresponding increase in development impact.

To assess the current status of social enterprises on the African continent and to develop effective support mechanisms to help social enterprises to replicate and scale, The World Bank Group contracted Endeva and the BoP Learning Lab to carry out a comprehensive study of the social enterprise ecosystems in the health, energy, education, and water & sanitation sectors in 7 Sub-Saharan African countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa.

Project objective

The Africa Social Enterprise Ecosystem Diagnostic project aimed to:

  • Conduct a sector-wide analysis in health, energy, education, and water & sanitation sectors in the 7 focus countries to understand the need, demand and supply of service delivery to the BoP
  • Identify key ecosystem challenges for social enterprises in selected sectors for each of the 7 focus countries
  • Conduct in-depth analysis to better understand service delivery structures to the Base of the Pyramid
  • Inform the World Bank about challenges and opportunities of supporting and catalyzing innovative business models focusing on service delivery to low-income populations

Project results

The main project outputs of this project included:

  • 7 country profiles that highlight the status of the social enterprise ecosystem with a focus on need, demand and supply of services as well as on policy and regulations, financing opportunities, infrastructure and human capital, and information and networks for social enterprises.
  • 17 sector profiles that highlight the status of the social enterprise ecosystem in the health, energy, education, or water & sanitation sector of a focus country.
  • 5 in-depth sub-sector service delivery deep dives that specifically analyzed service delivery for maternal and child health in Kenya, quality of primary education in Uganda, HIV prevention in Uganda, rural lighting and home system services in Zambia and peri-urban sanitation in Malawi.
  • A synthesis report on emerging social enterprise ecosystems in Africa including a cross country analysis of ecosystem maturity.

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