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Equity Bank’s Group Executive talks philanthropy

As part Africa.com’s webinar series Crisis Management for African Business Leaders, Dr. James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings and Executive Chairman of the Equity Group Foundation is set to be featured in a fireside chat with Harvard Business School Professor Caroline Elkins on July 22, 2020.

The webinar series draws the largest-ever gathering of African business leaders each week, with thousands of C-Suite participants from 123 countries around the world that includes 46 countries on the African continent, and 77 countries in the rest of the world.

The session, Disruptions with Impact: The Intersection of Business and Philanthropy, will examine the COVID-19 crisis for Kenya and East Africa, and the changes that COVID-19 might accelerate for businesses and philanthropies. Among specific themes to be discussed is the balance between a company’s ethos and its ethical compass during crisis, and the leadership required to navigate the two.

Dr. James Mwangi is a champion for socio-economic transformation. The Kenyan born banker and leading businessman is a lifelong entrepreneur whose career stands as an example of how a successful business can deliver value to its shareholders whilst creating effective social impact. Dr. Mwangi’s leadership approach has been recognized locally, regionally, and globally.

He has been credited with democratizing financial access by removing entry barriers and pioneering a microfinance revolution which gave 96% of the un-banked population in Kenya the opportunity for broader economic participation. He has led Equity Group Holdings to become a publicly listed financial services group in three countries and is rapidly expanding it and its unique shared-values model across Africa.

The Group currently serves 14.3 million clients in 6 countries, positioning itself as the largest financial services and banking group in Eastern and Central Africa in market capitalization. Driven by the commitment to scale up shared prosperity and social impact interventions that transform lives and livelihoods, Dr. Mwangi initiated the establishment of Equity Group Foundation (EGF), the social arm of the Group, in 2008.

EGF implements innovative programs that leverage on the infrastructure of the bank achieving a higher social return on investment. While serving as the Executive Chairman, he has shaped notable EGF programs and has, to date, mobilized the support of like-minded partners to commit USD 445 million for social impact.

Caroline Elkins is Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, and also a faculty member at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School. She is the founding director of Harvard’s Center for African Studies. She received her A.B., summa cum laude, from Princeton University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Her book, Imperial Reckoning:

The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya (Henry Holt, 2005) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 2006. It was also one of The Economist’s Best Books for 2005, an Editor’s Choice for The New York Times, a Waterstone’s Best Writer for 2005, and a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize for nonfiction.

Elkins and her work have been profiled in newspapers and magazines around the world, including Newsweek, Time Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Le Monde, The Guardian, and The Boston Globe, as well on various television and radio programs. She and her research were the subjects of a BBC documentary titled “Kenya: White Terror,” which won the International Red Cross Award at the Monte Carlos Film Festival.

Equity Group Holdings is a pan-African financial services head-quartered in Nairobi, Kenya with Bank subsidiary operations in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a representative office in Ethiopia. It is the largest financial services and banking group in Eastern and Central Africa by market capitalization.

The Group’s vision is to be the champion of the socio-economic prosperity of the people of Africa, by transforming lives, giving dignity, and expanding opportunities for wealth creation. The Group’s operations include a fintech company, Finserve Africa; as well as a networked health care provider, Equity Afia.

The Group’s corporate foundation, Equity Group Foundation (EGF), has delivered humanitarian programs in Education and Leadership, Food and Agriculture, Social Protection and Safety Nets, Health, Clean Energy and Environment, and Enterprise Development and Financial Inclusion to millions of beneficiaries in the region.

Equity Group’s Creating Shared Value [CSV] strategy provides triple bottom line socio-economic returns to society, the environment and social development policies. EGF’s programs and services are underpinned by technology, innovation, and synergy as a central means to launch, nurture, and scale up Africa’s next generation of successful leaders and entrepreneurs delivered to all communities in which Equity has operations.