Source: Jason Philips - AfricanBrains
Africa the continent with slightly more than a billion people (the second most populated continent according to Wikipedia) has also created opportunities for anyone who is willing to take the bull by the horns. The bull here can be said to be the unique challenges of culture, infrastructure, etc. that affects doing business in most African countries when compared with the Western nations’ paradigm. But the question now is, does this also present the West or the more developed countries outside Africa the opportunity of establishing business schools in Africa?
To ask the question in a slightly different way will be to say: Does Africa need western business schools? Yes, but not in a way that many might agree. To start with some foreign business schools have already established their presence in the continent. This includes schools like Shanghai’s CEIBS (China Europe International Business School) that has began an MBA program (executive) in Ghana, the Germans’ Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in Congo (the DRC) with a 2-year masters degree in microfinance program developed just to mention a few.
A different view
Regarding CEIBS this school has even been dubbed the “Harvard of Africa.” Meaning that the Harvard-style of business school education is what is sought after even when this might not be the solution to the dearth in business knowledge that Africa needs. It is for this reason that Professor Walter Baets director of the University Of Cape Town Graduate School Of Business has criticized such development.
What he means by this is that foreign or Western schools should not prescribe to Africa the type of education that it requires, but should instead work together with local schools or institutions to come up with programs that are suited to meet the unique needs of the continent. More so, this is important when one considers the view held at least by some that traditional Harvard-style education is believed to be the cause of the recent economic crisis.
An opportunity provided to learn
Now this economic crisis together with the present opportunity in Africa should more than anything else provide foreign b-schools with the opportunity of learning. That is learning from local institutions and the situation in Africa to create a new business model. One that is a departure from what the western business education has established, being a model that is suited to a stable business environment. But the African business environment is some what different, as it is characterized by flux (good or bad ones). And, so will not yield itself positively to a Western business model.
But there is a reason for all this
At least one reason for this behavior from the western business schools can be traced back to Africans themselves since they have been flocking to these schools for decades without building business schools or recognizing the ones that have been established as schools that can stand on the same footing with these western b-schools.
There is a lot more that can be achieved when local institutions and others representing the African divide on the one hand work together with their counterparts from other parts of the world regarding business education. So yes western business schools should come to Africa, but with the mind-set to collaborate rather than to import their own educational model hook, line and sinker in whatever context.
Author Bio: Jason Phillips has authored this post. He is a popular speaker who is known for his ability to simplify complex concepts using plain talk, anecdotes and humor. Apart from that, he is writing for mba admission essays on different websites.