South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s most awarded airline, was honored with the “Corporate Leadership” award at the 25th Shared Interest Anniversary Gala held in New York City on April 25. Shared Interest is a non-profit social investment fund that mobilizes the resources for Southern Africa’s economically disenfranchised communities to sustain themselves and build equitable nations.
The airline was recognized for its commitment to upholding its corporate social responsibility and playing a transformative and developmental role in the development of South Africa. For more than 85 years, SAA has served as South Africa’s national airline. Since 1994, the first year of democratically held elections in South Africa, SAA has deepened its mission, orientation and business practices to support South Africa’s national developmental agenda and to connect South Africa to the world.
Shared Interest was established twenty-five years ago by founding partners who were deeply entrenched in the anti-apartheid movement with a passion for human rights and economic justice. Since then, the organization, working with the Thembani International Guarantee fund in South Africa, has facilitated guarantees that move South Africa’s own banks to provide entrepreneurs, farmers and homeowners with access to the country’s own abundant capital in order to create sustainable solutions to poverty. Shared Interest’s guarantees play a role not only in correcting market failure, but also in helping to dismantle apartheid era discriminatory lending practices. Since Shared Interest began, its loan guarantees and technical support have benefited more than two million Southern Africans, the majority of who are women. In the process, they have forged a model applicable and replicable far beyond South Africa. Responding to Southern Africa’s needs, Shared Interest has expanded to Mozambique, Swaziland and begun operations in Malawi.
“This award is a testament to the commitment, support and collaboration between SAA and Shared Interest,” said Todd Neuman, SAA’s executive vice president for North America. “As South Africa’s flag carrier, we take our mission seriously to aid in the development of South Africa. Working with an organization such as Shared Interest, which has done phenomenal work in South Africa’s transformation, is an integral part of our mission here in the United States. We are immensely proud to be the recipient of this distinguished award from Shared Interest, and it will aid us as we continue to champion worthy philanthropic efforts that make for better lives for South Africa’s people.”
“Shared Interest is a proud long-term partner with South African Airways in continuing to build on the vibrant relationship between the people of South Africa and the United States,” affirmed Donna Katzin, Shared Interest’s executive director. “We look forward to our ongoing work together to open doors for excluded South Africans and to build a more equitable society with today’s and tomorrow’s South Africans.”