Principles for action: the five critical factors needed to succeed in Africa

Five critical success factors, developed by Ernst & Young for the Strategic Growth Forum – Africa 2013.

Getting down to business implies a bias to action; we need to see a shift toward moving on and getting things done. However, we also need to ensure that government, business, the donor community and broader civil society are all working together toward achieving the same long-term objectives of economic growth and social development. This does happen, but often haphazardly and to a greater or lesser extent across different parts of Africa. To accelerate our progress, we need a more systemic and joined-up approach to working together to increase private investment, create more sustainable jobs, transfer new technologies and skills, and realize Africa’s true economic and human potential over the next few decades.

But effective action needs to be grounded in an intellectual and emotional framework that ensures we are all on the “same page”. We believe it is, therefore, important to consciously frame a set of principles about doing business in Africa, not as a philosophical inquiry, but rather because our principles critically influence how we behave as individuals and organizations. They lead us to participate or sit on the sidelines, to be bold or meek, to build or to pull down; a clear set of principles provides a framework for belief, which, in turn, helps provide the confidence and courage to act.

While we do not pretend to have all the answers, based on our own experience of growing an African practice across 33 countries, and of engaging with numerous private and public sector clients developing and executing strategies for growth in Africa, we suggest a set of five key principles. These, we believe, provide a framework for action for business and government, and for supporting the productive and mutually beneficial expansion of private investment in and across Africa.

• Perspective: assuming a glass-half-full perspective that focuses first on opportunity, and only then on the risks that need to be managed.

• Partnerships: investing in building strong collaborative partnerships across government, business and communities.

• Planning: adopting careful long-term planning, and patience; persistence and flexibility in implementing those plans.

• Places: embracing Africa’s diversity, but ensuring the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

• People: celebrating, nurturing and developing Africa’s human talent; arguably the continent s greatest resource.

This article is an extract from Ernst & Young’s Attractiveness Survey Africa 2013: Getting down to Business. Click here to download the full report

Countries: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, North Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, and Zimbabwe
Topics: Getting Started
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