Advice to invest in Africa

The other day, I attended a panel discussion on “The global strategic landscape.” Panelists were members of IESE’s International Advisory Board. Among them, Ibukun Awosika, founder and CEO The Chair Center Group, and Chairperson of the First Bank of Nigeria. I thought of sharing with you some of her advice for foreign companies willing to invest in Africa:

  • Do not come with solutions but ready to engage with others to find solutions: reengage the minds of the African population to solve their problems.
  • You need local partnerships: coming from the outside, you’ll find a few things that will challenge your business model.
  • You can’t have a short-term goal: you need patience for the investment to mature or for the industry to settle – in fact, you may need to help shape the industry.
  • Know the values of where you are: if you want to build for the long term, you can’t just focus on the economic factor – you also need to facilitate social engagement.

Her last words were a great synthesis of her message: To create economic value, create value for the people, and then they will support you.

I love it when I hear African business people send messages that resonate with those in this blog:

Elevator at Nairobi Securities Exchange
Elevator at Nairobi Securities Exchange

Any additional advice for foreign companies willing to enter the continent?

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5 thoughts on “Advice to invest in Africa

  1. Excellent, Africa!
    I would just like to add that precarity is an important parameter that you should also have in mind. This often enters into conflict with the notions of “patience” and “long term returns”.

  2. Colonialism is part of XIX century. Too many people face business in Africa thinking they are cleverer than locals because they come from “the first world”… big mistake! Do not subestimate your local stakeholders!

  3. Interesting! Thanks, Africa 🙂
    This conversation here may remind us that the field of International Business/Global Strategy need more ethnographic research and scholarly work from CONTEMPORARY Anthropologists, if we’re to fully comprehend the cultural and institutional imaginations from Africa!
    Thanks again, Africa.
    Aloys

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