Driving socio-economic development through public-private partnerships lies at the core of the Impact Catalyst initiative founded by Anglo American, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Exxaro, Office of the Premier (OTP) in Limpopo and World Vision South Africa. The founders are now joined by Zutari (formerly Aurecon Africa).

Dr Gustav Rhode, CEO at Zutari. Image credit: Zutari

Dr Gustav Rhode, CEO at Zutari. Image credit: Zutari

Zutari’s CEO, Dr Gustav Rohde, says initiatives like Impact Catalyst are key to moving the dial on sustainable development, particularly large-scale programmes. “When the private and public sectors cross-collaborate, it serves as a catalyst for sustained socio-economic impact. At Zutari, we aim to co-create an engineered impact in the communities, economies, and environments we operate in. Joining the Impact Catalyst initiative is therefore a perfect match for our business,” says Dr Rohde.

Corporate South Africa is already devoting significant resources to addressing socio-economic development and recognise that strengthening local communities and ensuring that business success benefits society is critical to long-term sustainability.

“Yet, for many years, community development was regarded as charity rather than an investment, which resulted in vague objectives and a lack of direction and purpose. While individual companies like our major mining houses put in a strong effort to enhance the quality of life of their neighbours, the impact of these efforts could never be scaled – there was no mechanism to pool together all the available resources for a specific community,” says Dr Rohde.

“Participating in Impact Catalyst allows us to pool resources. The fact that we also deliberately connect business, local government and communities on specific developmental projects allows us to accelerate positive change.”

The Impact Catalyst continues to build partnerships with entities that could strengthen its capability and knowledge base in the disciplines that are required to increase the impact of socio-economic development initiatives.