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A new focus on what really matters for African business

Henley Business School Africa, Dunning Africa Centre (DAC) is launching a webinar series this May in a move that will give the continent a more prominent voice in global business research and help promote African business internationally.

The DAC, which is affiliated to the prestigious John H. Dunning Centre for International Business in the UK, will facilitate collaboration between top African scholars, business leaders and other experts including Henley’s 84,000-strong global alumni network to drive enquiry into the impact of globalisation on international business from an African perspective. It will also seek to reposition African business as a significant global player.

“Despite considerable optimism at the turn of the new millennium, the 21st century has not yet turned out to be Africa’s,” says Dean and Director of Henley Business School Africa, Jon Foster-Pedley. “Most African economies remain dependent on exporting low-value-added goods, mainly in mining and agriculture, and an overall decline in manufacturing activities, with little or no movement towards the knowledge economy,” he explains.

“It is time for Africa to reclaim its identity and make authentic, assertive inroads into the global market!”

Professor Rajneesh Narula, the Director of the UK John H. Dunning Centre for International Business and Dunning Africa Centre agrees. “We need to take steps to address the marginalisation of Africa and look to create the right conditions and shape business strategy and policy to drive business success on the continent that also lifts African communities.”

The research series will kick off with an open webinar on 5th May 2022 which will tackle the question of how Africa became marginalised and how to start to fix this. Prominent guests, including Dean Foster-Pedley and Professor Narula; Ebun Jackson-Adekola, CEO, Anglophone West Africa for Marsh; Muhammad Sani Abdullahi, Chief of Staff to the Governor of Kaduna State, Nigeria; and Dr Frank Aswani, the CEO of Africa Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPA), will share their insights and instigate debate on how African businesses can approach international markets as well as how to invest abroad and attract significant inward investment.

Following the first webinar, monthly events will be held virtually to keep the conversation moving forward and encourage collaboration.

According to Professor Daniel Petzer, Head of Research at Henley Business School South Africa, Henley Business School is well-placed to lead this conversation as South Africa’s first and only international quadruple-accredited business school in Africa. Henley is a leading global business school with campuses in Africa, Europe and Asia and the UK.

“An essential element of the DAC webinar is that business people from across Africa can offer their unique insights and perspectives. We have designed the platform so that the conversation can expand across industries and provide a unified path forward. Every voice counts.”

Henley Business School SA already works closely with Henley Business School in the UK on a range of collaborative research programmes, including one on the attainment of organisational strategy through stakeholder engagement. Since its inception in 1992, the school’s research agenda has grown in international stature, and in 2020 it became the first African business school to join the Latin American Council of Management Schools (CLADEA). It is currently leading a research project for CLADEA on the impact of situational leadership in times of crisis from an emerging market perspective.

The formal establishment of the new webinar series, which will bring more resources and impetus to the Henley South Africa research agenda, will help the school to deepen its focus on the issues that really matter for African business, says Professor Petzer.

“Our research base is in a continent rich in opportunity with the youngest population in the world yet is beset by legacy problems that manifest in very visible and challenging ways that threaten to undermine the future of these young people,” he says. “It is imperative that we target our efforts towards understanding and addressing these issues and find ways to unlock the full potential of African business.”

Useful resources:
Henley Business School
At the core of Henley’s philosophy is the belief that we need to develop managers and leaders for the future. We believe the challenge facing future leaders is the need to solve dilemmas through making choices. We work with both individuals and organisations to create the appropriate learning environment to facilitate the critical thinking skills to prepare for the future.
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