Otto Group and the Cotton made in Africa initiative promote adult literacy in Burkina Faso

Education is the key to sustainable development. This is why the Otto Group is making a financial contribution to a social project established by the Cotton made in Africa initiative to promote adult literacy.


This public private partnership project receives major support from the Otto Group and offers some 5,000 adults in the Central-South region the opportunity to learn to read and write in evening school. “Improving the literacy rate is one of the key factors in establishing a sustainable development process,” is how Andreas Streubig, Otto Group Division Manager Environmental and Social Policy, explains the company’s engagement.

The project was established in the autumn of 2009 within the framework of the Cotton made in Africa initiative, together with the fashion company Apart, the German Society for Investment and Development (DEG) and Welthungerhilfe. The illiteracy rate of around 71% has an extraordinary high impact on the economic development of Burkina Faso and also poses very specific challenges for the smallholder farmers who participate in the Cotton made in Africa initiative: many cannot enjoy the potential benefits of the educational courses on offer because they cannot make notes or even read the course materials. Here, the literacy project helps people to help themselves.

Cotton made in Africa is not only committed to the sustainable cultivation of African cotton but also sees itself as an intermediary for a number of public-private partnership (PPP) projects. These PPP projects are characterised by companies and public organisations bundling their resources in order to strengthen social infrastructures in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia and Malawi through social projects

The Aid by Trade Foundation

The Aid by Trade Foundation was established in 2005 by the Hamburg-based businessman and Chairman of the Otto Group Supervisory Board Dr. Michael Otto, and has since acted independently of the Otto Group. The Foundation’s goal is to help people to help themselves through trade and thus to secure vital resources and the future of coming generations in Africa. Cotton made in Africa is the foundation’s first initiative to literally apply the principle of ‘aid by trade’ in practice.

The Otto Group

Established in 1949 in Germany, the Otto Group is a globally operating retail and services group with around 49,300 employees. The Group’s 123 main companies do business in 20 European, North American and Asian countries and are active in the three segments of Multichannel Retail, Financial Services and Service. The Otto Group is deeply committed to sustainable business; furthermore it promotes diverse projects in the areas of environmental protection and social responsibility.

Source – CSR Africa Daily – By Millicent Njeri