Johannesburg — Business software giant SAP has continued with its support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, donating R1 million towards the seventh Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture this year, which was held on 12 July at the Johannesburg City Hall.
Following in the footsteps of luminaries such as Prof Wangari Maathai, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the lecture was delivered by Professor Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Laureate who is the founder and managing director of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh.
The topic of discussion was: “Investment in the marginalised as a way of creating wealth and combating poverty”, and was based on Prof Yunus’ experience in this field, aptly captured in his book: ‘Banker to the Poor’.
Yunus captured the hearts and minds of the audience through his emotional references to the life of Nelson Mandela and the achievement of the impossible. He concluded by saying: “Let’s make South Africa the first county without poverty and let’s do it fast, let’s do it in the next 20 years.”
“We are extremely proud of our partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation over the past six years,” says Pfungwa Serima, SAP Africa Managing Director. “Our involvement reflects our sustained contribution to the development of Africa.”
SAP identified the annual lecture as a key platform to demonstrate its long-term commitment to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
“It is part of the SAP’s philosophy to plough back into the communities in which we operate, and to be involved in such a high profile event adds credibility to our intentions, while helping to promote a greater sense of social justice across the globe. We also applaud the work that Prof Yunus has done in Bangladesh in terms of extending credit to the disadvantaged to start their own small businesses,” says Serima.
“SAP supports the call to celebrate Mandela Day on 18 July through widespread positive action and we encourage everybody to make a contribution in the various communities,” adds Serima.
Prof Yunus’ book explains how he came to see the relationship between rich and poor in a new way, and his vision for eradicating poverty from the world. This wisdom is based on the success of his bank in lending to the poor – 97% of the $7 billion lent by Grameen Bank has been to women, with a nearly 100% repayment rate.
SAP is the world’s leading provider of business software(*), offering applications and services that enable companies of all sizes and in more than 25 industries to become best-run businesses. With more than 82 000 customers in over 120 countries, the company is listed on several exchanges, including the Frankfurt stock exchange and NYSE, under the symbol “SAP”. For more information, visit www.sap.com.
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