-Results show 70% of African Graduates in top European and American schools see greater potential in the continent.
By Ajong Mbapndah L
In what may be considered as additional evidence of changing fortunes, African Graduates from leading Western Business Schools see the continent as their most likely business destination according to a survey sponsored by the London based Pan-African Equity Company Jacana partners.
A press statement from Jacana Partners indicates that about 70 percent of MBA students believe in the potential for growth in small to medium size enterprises.According to the press statement, half of the 70 percent plan to set up their own enterprises instead of working with existing ones. The results reveal that 89 percent of the respondents all of African origin considered the rising consumer indicators as the principal reason for their choice over and above other factors like natural resources and advancing technology.
The press statement indicates that the respondents to the survey were from 19 African countries ,spanning the North,Sub Saharan regions and South Africa. One of the revealations in the survey was the fact that of all those who indicated the desire to start their own African businesses,half of them where female.
” These survey findings provide a welcome indication that the majority of talented young Africans from among the MBA Diaspora will be returning to Africa post -graduation-and more importantly,they will be starting their own businesses,” said Simon Merchant CEO of Jacana in the press statement.
Highlighting the importance of the findings in the survey,Merchant goes on to say “small businesses are the key engines of economic growth,job creation and poverty alleviation in Africa and management talent is a critical component of SME success.By combining strong management teams with increasing access to value-add private equity capital,we can harness the potential of the returning MBA Diaspora to build successful businesses ,create jobs and support long-term economic growth.”
Sara Leedom,Co Chair of the Africa Oxford Business Network at Oxford Said Business School in the U.K who participated in conducting the survey said in the statement that she was not surprised at the results.”The majority of our members view Africa as offering a compelling career opportunity for business graduates,particularly at a time when the environment for growing businesses is slow in the West.”
“When Jacana approached us to do research the appetite for working in Africa post-graduation among our African Business Network students,we were delighted to be able to lend a voice ,” she said. “The continent provides a wealth of opportunity and we are increasingly seeing interest from a broad range of non -African nationalities in joining our Africa Business Network,attracted to that potential,” Leedom said in the press statement.
Jacana reportedly conducted the survey through out 2012 with the participation of students in top rated business schools in the U.S. and Europe. The institutions included the London Business School,Said Business School at Oxford University,Brandeis International Business School,Stanford Graduate School of Business,Darden Business School, Wharton Business School, and the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Information on the Jacana website indicate that it was founded in 2008 by a group of U.K entrepreneurs and philanthropists who having achieved success in business wanted to harness their skills and experiences to support economic growth in Africa. The company has “a vision of a globally-competitive Africa,driven by entrepreneurs who can access value-added private equity investment to create successful businesses,better jobs and sustainable economic growth.”
In a bid to broaden the scale and geographical reach of its operations, Jacana which has three funds under management worth $45 million, is raising between $70-$100 million with the help of international finance institutions.