Maximizing business opportunities in Africa
“Stop considering Africa exotic,” said Zimbabwean-born entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa. “Instead, it’s a business climate like any other — defined by challenges and opportunities, and one that rewards innovation, determination and hard work. A limited few have a deep understanding of the Africa business climate.” In 1993 Strive founded South African-based Econet Wireless, a telecommunications company. Econet Wireless has since expanded to 17 countries in Africa and throughout the world.
Thus far, most of the success stories in Africa have been home grown. With Africa nations having vast natural resources, expanding middle classes and dynamic hubs of innovation, U.S. companies and investors need to consider how to make the most of the many opportunities in Africa.
The Milken Institute is proud to partner on the Africa Business Fellowship with Strive Masiyiwa, other prominent African business leaders, the African Leadership Network and Management Leadership for Tomorrow. The Africa Business Fellowship, launched today at the Milken Institute Global Conference, will focus on recruiting and placing high-performing American graduates in leading African companies for up to six months, as part of a structured business fellowship. It reciprocates the US Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative that provides online education and networking opportunities for young African leaders.
At the Institute, we are committed to bringing awareness and understanding of the business and investing story about Africa to a broader audience. Institute fellow Jonathan Berman often notes the statistic that there are over 500 African companies with annual revenues over $100M. We now need to create opportunities to expose current and future business leaders to first-hand experiences working in African companies and to foster cross-cultural collaboration and long-term partnerships. By focusing on new audiences, we have the potential to increase awareness beyond those already engaged and knowledgeable about the nuance and complexity of doing business in each of the 54 countries in the region.
The best way to understand the unique opportunities that African businesses present is to spend time there, inside companies. Nothing takes the place of first-hand experience. Thanks to programs like this, we can now expect a new generation of MBAs to shape the ongoing narrative of economic growth in Africa.
To find out more about the African Business Fellowship, sign up for updates and learn about the application process visit: www.africabusinessfellowship.com. Applications will open in July.