The Startup magic 

It would be strange if the Africans had not avail of their traditional skills for business purposes. Football attracts huge money so why not try the football magic! And the African whisperers have initiated another start-up. You will hardly find an African football team that does not employ magic. The hired witcher elaborates the special “procedure” for the competitor’s team and chooses a ceremony. He uses any available stuff including dove’s blood and chicken bones hidden in competitor’s changeroom. If the ceremony fails, only higher forces can be accused. Rumor has it that the price for such magic services sometimes reaches thousands of dollars and depends upon the witcher’s status.

Talent pipeline

University of Cape Town, Graduate School of Business left behind nine other best world universities and took the first place in 2009.  

The University of Cape Town was founded in 1829 as a college for boys. In 1874 it was reorganized into institution of higher education. In 1885 the University adopted the British Educational System. Today it consists of six faculties: humanities, civil engineering, law, natural sciences, medicine and commerce.      

Graduate School of Business is a part of the University. 

Four Nobel laureates acquired their education at the University.

 

The RSA educational system 

Council of Higher Education heads the RSA educational system. It sets general rules for universities, technikons (technical schools) and colleges. These educational institutions differ in the applied educational programs, number of subjects and diploma types. Colleges offer specialized secondary education while universities and technikons give greater scope for their students: the educational process is divided into two stages — the Undergraduate student (3 – 6 years) receives Bachelor’s Degree Diploma and the Postgraduate (2 – 3 years) student is awarded the Master degree. The Doctor degree requires two more years.      

The contemporary educational level offered by technikons is very close to the one offered by universities. The difference is that technikons train specialists in the commerce and industry fields while universities emphasize more on humanitarian subject.    

Learners study subjects that are necessary for business organization: management, marketing, business administration, finances. The course terminates with an essay or a course paper. Major subjects require successful examination. The final student work is thesis research. Theses are defended before the members of the African and European business community.

Who wants to bea billionaire?

Scientifically proven fact: Africans genuinely believe in almost mystical power of labor. According to a survey conducted by Gallup Institute, nine out of ten people in Africa believe that it is hard work, that sooner or later brings us to success and prosperity. It is noteworthy that Africa has given the go-by to North Africa and Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and the EU in this uncompromising belief: 85% of respondents in the continent share this opinion. And there are grounds for it. In late 2014, UBS bank experts issued a report, which included more than three thousand African millionaires.

Africa along with the Middle East demonstrates one of the highest rates of growth in number of the rich people. Most of them — 835 — in South Africa, followed by Nigeria (645), Egypt (595), Kenya (170), Tanzania (120), Angola (115). The UBS report provides a list of African cities, home to the largest number of multimillionaires. These cities are Lagos (520), Johannesburg (450), Cairo (445), Cape Town (150), Nairobi (135).

Africa gives cause for more loud sensations. A year ago, the Ventures magazine experts came to the conclusion that the number of African countries citizens who possessed the capital more than $1 billion, turned out to be twice more than it had been assumed. What is the cause of their financial takeoff: perseverance and hard work? Let’s puzzle out how to become a billionaire in African way.

Billionaire’s full face and profile

According to Chi-Chi Okonjo, the founder of The Ventures Africa magazine there are more than 55 billionaires in Africa, “But the discussion of wealth is still there under a taboo.” The word “taboo” in our opinion, is not quite pertinent. It is “uncool” in Africa, to make a display of one’s money. This is the first thing. Secondly, almost the same numbers — more than fifty billionaires — are operated by other sources. Forbes magazine published a list of the 40 richest people in Africa (without mentioning that this list is complete) in late 2011. According to the title, their combined wealth “weighed” about 65 billion dollars at that time. Finally, and thirdly, Africa becomes a full party to the globalization process, and hence its big business plays by the rules adopted in the civilized world: money is transparent.

There are, of course, some specifics: African business is mostly family business, so it is rather complicated to single out the leader, in other words, a direct list player, as well as to define the amount of assets belonging to him personally. However, the portrait of the billionaire in African style emerges quite clearly.

So, according to The Ventures magazine, the assets of the 55 richest Africans are estimated at about 143.88 billion dollars. The wealthiest man in Africa (the undisputed fact for all experts) is Aliko Dangote from Nigeria. He maintains this reputation for a long time and with great confidence.

The average level of African billionaires’ personal wealth is estimated at 2.6 billion dollars. The average age is 65 years. The oldest of the richest are Kenyan industrialist Manu Kandariya and Egyptian, however, well known in Europe, Mohamed Al-Fayed — they are 82 years old. The youngest are Tanzanian Mohammed Dewji and an oilman from Nigeria Igho Sanomi — they are around 40. According to the Ventures, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt have the largest number of the richest men — twenty, nine and eight, respectively. Algeria, Angola, Zimbabwe and Swaziland have one in each country. Totally, 10 African countries are represented in the list.

A 10-year period of intensive economic growth has contributed to increase in the number of billionaires in Africa, as the Financial Times reports. Oil price behavior has also influenced: from $20 for a barrel in early 2000 to more than $140 in 2008, and completely comfortable decline to $100 until the middle of 2014.

How to become a billionaire in Africa? The most concise answer was given by the Africans themselves in the aforementioned Gallup Institute poll: to work hard. Money is really “lying under their feet” there — diamonds, gold and oil. But still it is not so simple.

Trying to understand the secrets of business excellence of the “new Africans”, RV has come to a startling conclusion: their business careers are almost never reduplicated. Billionaire in Africa is an absolutely exclusive phenomenon: one goes to the top in one’s own way. Business of the richest Africans is multifarious: from telecommunications — to agro villages, from the financial market — to retailers, from coffee plantations — to housing, infrastructure and tourism industry. Well, the energy, of course: no way round it!

Markets of goods, finance and services in Africa are limitless. Everyone can play the game “who wants to be a billionaire.” Or almost everyone. At any rate, business women are among the winners, judging by the Ventures magazine list. Perhaps, we should start with them.

 

Occupation — fashion designer

According to the Ventures, a leader in the women’s rankings is Folorunsho Alakija, Nigerian, combining the talent of fashion designer and oilman (the edition estimated her assets at more than $7 billion in 2013). The richest woman in Africa has a 60% stake in one of the most profitable OML127 deep water blocks, which makes 200,000 oil barrels per day. But this occupation is permissive, although super profitable, as well as another passion of hers — polygraphy. Alakija is a Managing Director of the Rose of Sharon Group, which includes The Rose of Sharon Prints & Promotions Limited and Digital Reality Prints Limited companies. Besides, she is an Executive Vice Chairman of Famfa Oil Limited, and so on and so forth: even her biographers cannot call to mind all posts and regalia of this energetic Nigerian. But Folorunsho Alakija’s main profession is a fashion designer. Even so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First — the story of how she became a billionaire.

Folorunsho Alakija was born in 1951, in Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria. She graduated Muslim school and continued her education in London. First of all, it was Pitman’s Central College, then The American College, and finally— Central School of Fashion, London. She did not try her luck on British catwalks — just returned home and soon founded the first small company, dress-making and tailoring establishment Supreme Stitches. Things went not just successful, but fantastically successful. The customers and (that is important), Folorunsho’s patronesses were representatives of the higher establishment of the country.

Madame couturier easily entered into upperclass society, and (rumor) made a pal of the wife of President Ibrahim Babangida (head of the state from 1985 to 1993).

Trendy business prospered, her Rose of Sharon House of Fashion became known far beyond the country. Alakija’s merits were highly evaluated: she became the national president and life trustee of the Fashion Designers Association.

Having taken a vertex, you can easily conquer a new one. “Soft woman with iron character” — is said of Folorunsho at home. This businesswoman fully justified this characteristic: she went on untilled virgin soil — into the oil business.

Famfa Limited company founded by Folorunsho got a license to oil exploration in the area of 617,000 acres in 355 km south-east of Lagos in the central delta of the river Niger in 1993. The business is a little unknown for a beginner, and to say the truth — unsupportable. But in less than three years, such oil heavyweights as Texaco (through its subsidiary Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited) and the Brazilian Petrobras were included in partners of the Nigerian fashion designer.

Alakija is involved in charity work. She founded Rose of Sharon fund, which helps widows and orphans, awards scholarships and grants for starting a business. And, of course, no age beauty Folorunsho has a family: a young husband and four children.

By the way, the family of billionaires still lives in Lagos keeping in mind, perhaps the great wisdom of their countryman, the richest African Aliko Dangote. And he said, “ Nothing is going to help Nigeria like Nigerians bringing back their money. If you give me $5 billion today, I will invest everything here in Nigeria. Let us put our heads together and work.”

“Work — work,” — conspire these Africans. However, everything is not so easy.

 

Born in the USSR

The Ventures magazine hands the second place in the women’s ranking of billionaires to Isabel dos Santos, an elder daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos (from September 1979).

The Forbes magazine, by the way, gave Isabel the first place. But as it was already mentioned, it is extremely difficult to allocate private capital, and calculate the nominee’s assets with precision, in the African family business. The law of large figures is in effect here — in this case, one billion more or a billion less today — and it does not matter for the casual observer. The main thing is that Alakija and dos Santos are out of competition. They are the richest women in Africa. There are, however, some aspects: Isabelle is more associated with foreign assets. That’s what the globalization made for.

However, it is globalization that we have now. And in the early 60’s, there were anti-colonialism and proletarian internationalism. And all these three concepts were closely intertwined in the life of our heroine. The first concept is clear: it is a real present time of entrepreneur Isabel dos Santos. The second one is the heroic youth of her father, who became a vice-chairman of the youth organization MPLA— The Popular Movement for the Libe­ration of Angola at his 20. And the third concept is an unexpected twist of fate for Jose dos Santos. The wave of international solidarity of the USSR with the peoples of Africa brought the young activist of the national liberation movement to the distant shore of the Caspian Sea. In November 1963, the future president of Angola was sent to study in the Soviet Union, Baku Oil and Gas Institute within the group of MPLA Fellows.

Student dos Santos studied hard and took charge of Angolan student community in the Soviet Union. In June 1969, he obtained his petroleum engineer diploma and, according to some information, was sent to a special military school in the USSR.

“Who needs the details of Mr. Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ Soviet biography?” the thoughtful reader would ask. “This story is about his daughter, who made a distinguished career in her homeland.” But the fact is that Isabel dos Santos, the current “Queen” of Africa (at home, however, she is called “Princess”), is a Soviet personage, as we can say. African billionaire, who heads the Forbes list, was born in the USSR.

Baku student from Angola, José dos Santos, married a pretty girl from Penza Tatiana Kukanova in 1966. There, in Baku, Isabel was born. And her early childhood passed on the shore of the Caspian Sea.

A daughter of anti-colonial movement activist (the country got independence only in November 1975) had no big chance of success in her home country. She attended public school in Luanda (though, there were no private schools at that time in Angola). Her friends and acquaintances recollect that she was a very shy girl, and remains modest up to this day. At least, Isabelle refuses categorically from any interview.

Her father became president in 1979. Parents got divorced. Isabelle and her mother Tatiana moved to London. As reported in the British press, the girl spent two years in a private school of St. Paul. Then she studied electronic engineering and business administration at King’s College London.

Isabel returned to Angola at the age of 24. She tried her hand at small businesses, showing complete independence: opened a restaurant in Luanda, and then launched garbage disposal company. Success (as people say) came gradually and not without her father’s support.

Nowadays, according to The Forbes, dos Santos is the biggest shareholder of Zon, Portuguese media conglomerate, and owns a 28.8% stake. 19.5% stake in Portuguese bank Banko BPI, as well as 25% of the Angolan bank Banco BIC are at her disposal. The Guardian wrote also about 25% of the Angolan telecommunications company Unitel. Anyway, the state newspaper Jornal de Angola awarded her the Entrepreneur of the Year title in 2012.

Family assets were multiplied by profitable and happy marriage. In 2003, Isabel married Sindika Dokolo, a Congolese art collector and the son of the tycoon Sanu Dokolo, the founder of the Bank of Kinshasa. The couple has three children now and lives alternately in Luanda, London, Lisbon and Johannesburg.

By the way, the British press, offended by the taciturn spouse “trailed” heartily their wedding. A choir from Belgium at the wedding ceremony, and two planes with delicacies delivered from France were remembered and talked over. The presidents of the African states were among the hundreds of invited guests, and the celebration itself, according to press reports, cost about $4 million. Well, who is surprised in the context of today’s standards?

And Isabel, apparently, has become a real pro. Having received the large shares in the companies, representing strategic sectors of Angola — banks, cement industry, telecommunications, oil, diamonds, she diversifies her investments. More than half of the assets accrue to the Portuguese public companies. Globalization...

 

African №1

Experts argue how to arrange seats within the top five of African billionaires. The only thing reconciles them: the name of the leader is beyond the debates. Nigerian Aliko Dangote is non-competitive and out of reach. As of November 2014, The Forbes estimates his assets at 21.6 billion dollars. The magazine named Dangote a Person of the Year 2014.

How has this 57-year-old entrepreneur become a billionaire? Oil and diamonds have no relationship to this take off. Cement King, owner of Dangote Group, among other things, engaged in food products, soft drinks, beer, confectionery products manufacture, is also the leader in sugar production industry in Nigeria and neighboring countries. The company operates in Benin, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, South Africa and Zambia.

Dangote had business acumen since his childhood. He recalls: “Even at elementary school, I could buy a box of candy and sell them. Business interested me even then.” It’s a family matter in case of our hero.

Dangote was born in 1957 in the Nigerian state of Kano in a very prosperous Muslim family. It is not surprising that the relatives advised him the Faculty of Economics at Cairo Al-Azhar University, as the Alma Mater. The family did not leave Alico-graduate without attention. No, it was not about providing a comfortable allowance to the posh. After a brief farewell speech, his uncle gave him a loan to open a business. A small one. A little bit more than 2,500 dollars in local currency. Aliko Dangote went into business when he was 21, and was never going to return.

Dangote Group, founded in 1977, was conceived as a trading company. But it gradually transformed into the largest industrial group in Nigeria, including Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, Dangote Flour, and a dozen other firms.

Aliko Dangote never lacked an entrepreneurial imagination. Let’s consider, for example, his idea to appeal to the Nigerian authorities with a proposal to lease an abandoned plot of land in Apapa port to build a silo. Flour could be shipped to the vessels without any additional transportation. The project started operating to the mutual benefit of the businessman and the port in 2012. One more business plan. In the late 90’s Dangote convinced the head management of the Central Bank of Nigeria to place bank’s motor pool under the management of his transport fleet companies — and also to the mutual benefit. Or let us see another maneuver. The Nigerian government decided to privatize the Benue Cement Company in 2000. Our hero applied for and received a plant in operation. It was quite another company in a couple of years. Dangote changed management, invested in manufacturing facilities and made a large-scale reconstruction. The productivity increased more than threefold. However, the purity of the experiment, and how the entrepreneur managed to negotiate with the authorities, was widely talked over. But who can judge a winner?

In 2003, Dangote built the largest cement plant in Africa — Obajana Cement. The entrepreneur became a supplier not only within the region from South Africa to Zambia and Senegal — new capacities generated by Dangote embraced the markets of Tanzania, Congo, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia.

What else is the entrepreneur dreaming of? To deprive French company Lafarge of competitive advantage and become the largest cement producer in the world. And not only this.

Today Dangote Group holds 70% of the sugar market in the country. It is the principal supplier of this product in Africa and the third in the world, producing 800 thousand tons per year. In addition, the Dangote Group is a manufacturer of salt, flour, rice, pasta and fertilizers. The company widely exports cotton, cashew, cocoa, sesame and ginger. But even this rather diversified list would not be complete without mentioning that Dangote invests in real estate, banking, transport, textile industry and, of course, in oil and gas. More than 11 thousand people found a job within his business empire — it is the largest industrial conglomerate in West Africa.

But that’s not all. The “new Africans” cannot imagine life without the latest high technologies. Dangote is not an exception. He is carried away by telecommunications. So much so that he has decided to pull nationwide fiber-optic cables with a total length of 14 thousand kilometers.

In 2013, the businessman, according to Bloomberg, took 30 th place in the ranking of the richest people in the world after adding to his holdings 9.2 billion.

Dangote’s wealth grows like a weed. He has long been considered to be one of the richest people in Africa. But an assessment of his business greatly varied, as in case with other “new Africans.” For example, in 2010 some experts estimated the capital of his holding only at 3.3 billion dollars. A year later they did not believe their eyes: the assessment increased almost at five hundred percent! The mystery was easily solved: Dangote mastered a new kind of business — went to the stock exchange. And put his assets not as “retail”, but consolidated them under a single brand of Dangote Cement Holding. Demand for shares turned out to be fantastic: the securities covered almost a quarter of the Nigerian stock market. The businessman immediately declared that he intended to storm the London Stock Exchange and have no less than five billion.

Well, there are not so many African securities at the European markets. And his holding is a high-quality structure, and diversified. According to the businessman’s own forecasts, the total cost of holding can reach 60 billion in 2015. If there’s something always needed, it is food and cement.

“We are going to invest $4.7 billion in our cement business projects in 18 countries, including Nigeria. We will also vest $2.3 billion in agriculture, namely in sugar and rice,” says Dangote. Besides, Dangote Industries invests nine billion dollars in construction of fertilizer plants and petrochemical production in Nigeria. “We are very, very optimistic. We expect the average growth rate of 30%.” And that’s it.

 

Soap opera

This story began in 2003. Mohammed Devji, 28-year-old Tanzanian, loaned money from his father and purchased a soap factory very cheaply. Shortly after he purchased a factory producing edible fats and several textile producing companies. The situation was like this at that time: the government was giving out problem and even destroyed assets almost for free.

The young businessman successfully implemented the knowledge acquired in business schools in Tanzania and in the USA, and before long his factories started bringing profit. At present they are a part of his business empire — MeTL Group (Mohammed Enterprises Tanzanian Limited). And its owner — Mohammed Devji — has been recognized the youngest and the most successful billionaire of Africa.

For Tanzania, MeTL is a backbone company. It is easier to say what MeTL Group does not produce than list all of its businesses. The company has a well-developed infrastructure and logistics, means of transport and a hundred of regional representative offices; it produces for export cocoa, sesame, sunflower, cardamom, coriander, honey, soy beans, tea, corn, beeswax.

Textiles 21 Сentury — a division of MeTL — is the largest business structure in Eastern and Central Africa; it produces 720 tons of cotton yarn and 150 tons of polyester or mixed yarn per month. Few or the world corporate giants can compete with such production rates. Besides, the company produces traditional African apparel for men and women, fabrics, home textile. According to the Ventures Africa data, textile factories make an annual profit in the amount of 100 million dollars. Another division — MeTL AGRO — is the leader in the market of agricultural equipment supplies.

Financial company Golden Crescent Assurance is the first 100% Tanzanian insurer in the private sector; it has a multi-thousand client base.

Recently established Star Oils Tanzania company which is located in the territory of the Dar es Salaam Port, is building a network of 200 oil distributing stations throughout the country.

One of the most rapidly developing divisions of MeTL Group — Zefona Cellines — is the largest dealer of Vodacom (T) Ltd — the leading provider of mobile communication services in the country. Mo Cashews company produces 10 thousand kilograms of cashew nuts each day.

The very first deal has justified the hopes as well: East Coast Oils and Fats company produces laundry soap, toilet soap and palm-oil, and covers over 70% of the local market.

Devji Jr. has a grip like his father’s one. He also started with a small shop and managed to create a successful business. But at first he did not believe in this son’s entrepreneurial talent.

After achieving a bachelor’s degree, Mohammed continued his study in the Georgetown University in Washington and even got a job in the Wall Street. He worked hard — like any African striving for success. But his salary was barely enough to pay for his rent and taxes. His father did not support him financially then but he gave a wise advice to his son: stop wasting time and return home, to Tanzania.

The readers already know what happened later. Mohammed became a billionaire and overcame his father in all respects. He revealed the secret of his rise some time later. Unlike his father Devji Jr. did not limit himself to the import of goods and their resale in the local market. “Why are we importing soap? We are able to produce it on our own, aren’t we?” And he launched a soap factory.

In mid-2013 in his interview to the Forbes magazine Mohammed Devji said that by 2018 the return of MeTL Group will amount 5 billion dollars and by 2023 he shall become the leader of the African billionaires rating. But it is a “soap opera”, so there should be unexpected turns of scenario: the company is planning to achieve the 5-billion level of profit this year already.

Devji’s story is a proof of a simple truth: a billionaire — especially a young billionaire — should be excellent in every aspect. His business is excellent, his style is excellent (he prefers expensive European brands), and his thoughts are excellent too. For example, he told Forbes Africa: “If anyone asks who is more intelligent — my father or me, I’ll answer — my father. Why? Because it is much easier to make money when you have money than to make money when you have nothing.”

 

The Discreet Charm of a billionaire

At the BRICS summit held in 2013 in Durban (RSA) the leaders of Russia, Brazil, China, India and RSA adopted a declaration on the establishment of the BRICS Business Council. The Council’s mission is to perform implementation of multilateral investment projects and become a platform for spreading advanced technologies — in personnel training, banking, industry, “green” economy. Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe — a businessman from RSA — became the Chairman of the Council and its South African part. “I am sure that in the nearest future we shall see the changes in the quality of trade within BRICS” — he said.

Who is this person in whom the leaders of BRICS put so much trust? The website of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation provides such official information about Motsepe: “He is one of the most powerful and rich people in the world, the first black-skinned billionaire in history. According to The Forbes, his capital amounts 2,65 billion dollars.” We can add that in 2012 Patrice Motsepe was named the richest person of RSA by the Sunday Times.

He is the executive chairman of the African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) company which is involved in development of gold, iron ore and platinum fields (Motsepe owns 42% of its shares). He is a member of boards of directors of several business structures including Harmony Gold which is ranked 12th among the world top gold-mining companies. Plus he owns 5,5% of shares of the South African financial company Sanlam.

At the same time, Mr. Motsepe is absolutely not a typical representative of the global billionaires community. Of all the common stereotypes, Motsepe shares perhaps only one: he owns a football club — but a “native”, South African one — Mamelodi Sundowns. Mr. Motsepe has a very humble — for a billionaire — lifestyle. He has no passion for buying real estate: his family owns only one house in a prestigious district of Johannesburg. He has no yachts and planes. And recently he shocked his friends and colleagues by saying that he is ready to donate half of his capital for charity. A family fund was established for these purposes — its mission is improving the quality of life of poor and disabled people.

Motsepe said that it was his response for the initiative of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett (The Giving Pledge). American billionaires propose the wealthiest people of the world to give a considerable part of their capitals for charity.

“I am planning to donate at least a half of the capital my family owns for helping poor and outcast people” — Motsepe said. “Our traditions tell us to help those who are not so lucky in their lives.”

The businessman’s family supported his initiative. By the way, in the past his wife was the head of the Cancer Association of South Africa. Now she owns shares of the Leisureworx company which organizes “high society” events with traditional charity donations.

How do people like Motsepe become billionaires? Firstly, they have passion for what they do — and it always accompanies wealth. But the most important factor is the childhood impressions.

Patrice Motsepe was born in 1962 in Soweto, a settlement near Johannesburg, in which the black-skinned Africans were forced to live during the apartheid period. His father was a modest teacher with modest business — he opened a spaza-shop, a 24/7 home store which was selling cheap products and various utensils. The shop was very popular among black-skinned miners. Patrice helped his father in a shop, and there he received his first business lessons and knowledge of the difficult miners’ work.

But Motsepe started his career in a way that was just opposite to the emotions he received in his childhood: he obtained a degree of the bachelor of arts in the University of Swaziland. After that he obtained a qualification of a lawyer at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. In 1988 Motsepe entered one of the largest law companies of RSA — Bowman Gilfillan — and in 1993 he became the very first black-skinned partner in the history of this company.

His law career was on the rise and at the same time Patrice has become more and more interested in the problems of the mining industry. Meanwhile, the so-called black empowerment process — return of the rights to black-skinned people — started in RSA, including in the sphere of labor relations and entrepreneurship. Motsepe founded a small gold-mining company and implemented a combined salary system in it: basic salary plus profit-related bonuses.

In 1994 he started his independent business in the mining industry. His colleagues said that Motsepe has a six sence. In 1997 he purchased half-unkempt mines from AngloGold at a very low price and upon very bene­ficial conditions. He further implemented this scheme several times — a special company was established for making such deals, and at that time it became the main source of profit. In 1998, with the help of Bobby Godsell — the head of the Anglo American division in RSA — Motsepe purchased mines at the price of 8,2 million dollars and established the ARMgold company.

In 2000 he added platinum to gold: the entrepreneur established a joint venture together with the global giant Anglo Platinum and started developing the Modikwa field.

But the yellow metal stayed Motsepe’s main passion. In January 2002 he established a joint venture together with one of the world’s largest gold mining companies Harmony. This enterprise purchased several more mines from Anglo American for 190 million dollars. In a year Harmony and ARMgold were merged into a powerful conglomerate. Rebranding was completed in 2004: ARMgold acquired the Avmin mining company operating in Zambia, Congo and Namibia and was renamed to ARM — African Rainbow Minerals. In 2006 ARM became a partner of the South African coal-mining division of a diversified company Xstrata (Switzerland). According to the data as of June 30, 2014, the market capitalization of the company was 3,8 billion dollars.

They say that Patrice Motsepe managed to “catch the tide”: after the apartheid was abandoned in the RSA, black-skinned entrepreneurs received a chance and significant political preferences. They also write that one of the Motsepe sisters — who is married to an influential government member — is the head of a large mining company and one of the richest women of the country. In a word, the Motsepe family clan can obviously be called an oligarchial one. Motsepe himself agrees that he has managed to take advantage of the new system: at present there are no legal obstacles to the development of his business. But his critics forget one detail: Patrice Motsepe started his career when there were no preferences at all. In 1991 – 1992 he has already been working in the USA, in the McGuireWoods law firm. And since 1992 he started representing the interests of several mining structures in RSA.

So the keys to success are diligence and work? We cannot but recall the Gallup Institute’s survey. And we should also mention obstinacy and purposefulness: Motsepe’s father was right when he named his son Patrice, honoring Patrice Lumumba — the famous African independence leader.

Patrice has three sons, and he provided them with excellent education in the best business schools. This is probably the only personal thing for which he spent a lot of money.

Anyway, Motsepe is a real celebrity in his country. Journalists say that he can compete with his compatriot — Hollywood diva Charlize Theron — in the amount of people asking for autographs. This billionaire’s humble attraction definitely suits him.

 

The king of style

Another compatriot of Patrice Motsepe — Johann Rupert — has plenty of attraction as well. But we can hardly call it humble.

In 2013 the estimated capital of this South African citizen (together with his family) was 7,7 billion dollars. But the money itself is not that important — it is in what they are invested matters. And as to investments, Rupert prefers luxury.

Multibillionaire Johann Peter Rupert was born on June 1, 1950 in the family of a billionaire Anthony Edward Rupert. It seems that this piece of information is enough to tell the story of success of one of the richest Africans: his origin predetermined his destiny, he didn’t have to make any efforts. But it’s not true. At present the most stylish people of the world wear “his” watches — but Rupert’s way to success was not that easy and simple. We can also say so about the entire history of the Ruperts family which is now one of the most powerful families in RSA.

Biographers say that his father, Anthony Rupert, started with an investment of 10 dollars in 1941, and by the moment of his death at the age of 89 his capital amounted 1,7 billion dollars. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of Pretoria, Anthony together with his two friends launched a cigarettes production business. At first they worked in a garage which they turned into a workshop. Years passed, and this small business turned into a tobacco concern named Rembrandt Group. In 1972 the Rothmans company started representing its interests abroad. In 1995 Rothmans International became the 4th largest cigarette manufacturer in the world. And after the merger with British American Tobacco (BAT) it is ranked second in the list of world’s top cigarette companies.

It is clear that Anthony Rupert’s tobacco business has laid a solid foundation for the prosperity of the family and the career of his elder son. But Johann Rupert was not going to sit idly by.

In early 1980s no one could imagine that Johann will totally change the line of the Ruperts family business, multiply its assets manifold and will also gain the reputation of the “king of style” far beyond the borders of his native country.

Johann Rupert learned how to do business in New York, where he worked for such companies as Chase Manhattan and Lazard Freres. In 1979 he returned home, established Rand Merchant Bank and became its CEO. He also established a corporation involved in supporting small business. Johann did not want to work for Rembrandt Group or become its head. On the one hand, even then the cigarette manufacturers were already being reminded that smoking is harmful for health. On the other part, in 1976 the UN launched the convention against apartheid. All of these factors were not beneficial for the company’s development.

Anthony Rupert decided to relocate the company’s headquarters to Switzerland. In 1988 a new subsidiary company started working in Geneva. It was named Richemont Group, and Johann Rupert governed it. At the moment of its establishment the company included three brands of jewellery and expensive watches: Dunhill, Cartier и Montblanc. Anthony Rupert acquired them “in addition” to the Rothmans deal, and it seemed that he had completely forgotten about their existence. It was his son who discovered the potential of that goldmine.

In 1988 he established a new company in Switzerland — Compagnie Financière Richemont — and focused on several areas: jewellery, watches, writing utensils, clothes and firearms. The company is listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange and Johannseburg Stock Exchange. In 2013 it became the 8th largest business structure included in the calculation of the Swiss Market Index — and the third largest company in terms of turnover in the world of top luxury companies (after LVMH Moët Hennessy — Louis Vuitton S.A. and PPR S.A).

Johann Rupert definitely has the right to be called a king of style. It’s enough to take a look at the list of companies included in his luxury empire to get rid of any doubts. Alfred Dunhill, Ltd. — clothes for men, watches, leather accessories (London); Baume et Mercier — watches (Geneva); Cartier — jewellery, watches (Paris); Chloé — clothes for women (Paris); IWC Schaffhausen (Schaffhausen); Lancel — leather accessories (Paris); Montblanc International GmbH — writing instruments, watches (Hamburg); Net-a-Porter Ltd. — online high-fashion retailer (London); Piaget S.A. — jewellery, watches (Geneva); Vacheron Constantin — watches (Geneva): Van Cleef & Arpels S.A. — jewellery, watches (Paris).

In March 2007 Richemont and Polo Ralph Lauren Inc. announced the launch of a joint venture. “When you are working on the interior of your apartment or house, you are creating your personal world. The same thing happens when you are choosing your watch” — says American fashion guru Ralph Lauren. “Your watch accentuates your style, you can even descend it to your children, and it is a perfect gift. By the way, your watch can also show time.” Watches with minimalist design and extremely complex mechanism — a project which is passionately guided by two style geniuses, Ralph Lauren and Johann Rupert. Ralph Lauren was responsible for the design itself, and the Richemont specialists were entrusted with the manufacturing issues. The price of such timepieces starts from 10 thousand euro: the crisis did not stop neither manufacturers nor retailers or clients.

People appreciate things that can serve them eternally. Johann Rupert has a professional passion for them — and not only professional. He organized the Franschhoek Motor museum in which his private collection of over 200 antique cars is stored.

And still, the king of European fashion always stays a South African. He was born in Stellenbosch, 50 kilometers from Cape Town. He spent his school years there and then studied economics and law at the local university. But he had to leave his study for a while to take up the family business. In 2004 the university honored this already successful businessman with a special degree of a Doctor of Economics. In 2008 he also received a special degree from Nelson Mandela University.

Johann Rupert has quite a lot of the honorary titles. In 1988 Sunday Times newspaper called him the Businessman of the Year. In 1990 Die Burger newspaper and the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce conferred the same title. In 1992 he was included into the list of 200 “World Leaders of Tomorrow” at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In 2000 the heads of 100 largest companies named him “The most powerful business leader” in South Africa. In 2009 the president of the French Republic conferred the Legion of Honour on him.

In addition to the “stylish things,” Johann Rupert is interested in mining, finance and industry. He is the head of the Remgro investment company. He has interest in telecommunications and commercial television as well. In 2011 he returned to the business in which he had lost interest some time ago: diamond mining.

Together with his friends Rupert founded the Institute of Science and Sports. The best golf clubs are also connected with his name — Johann is the chairman of the South African Golf Development Board.

Besides golf, he is involved in playing cricket, managing a fund for sports education for children, participating in environment protection organizations — and his family matter (the Ruperts have three children).

There are few interviews with him in the newspapers. But those few are very pointed: in 2006 the Financial Time called him “Rupert the Bear” for predicting the world economic crisis. Johann interpreted this liberty with the humour. Still usually he gives journalists no quarters. When one of the British fashion magazines called Afrikaans the ugliest language in the world, the billionaire deprived the magazine of advertising for all his fashion brands. Johann Rupert, a global citizen, is a fellow from South African Stellenbosch town all the time. 

In ubuntu style

National peculiarities of African business

What is ubuntu? The encyclopedic dictionary has at least four meanings. The first two ones are obvious and doubtless: it is a municipality in the Northern Cape Province in the RSA and a refreshment beverage with the Malawian and Zambian sugar.

The two others are more complicated: they are contradictable and interrelated at the same time. If an entrepreneur understands the joining feature, he will know the formula of gaining success in Africa. 

Mark Shuttleworth’s formula

In Zulu language Ubuntu means a South African approach in ethics and humanist philosophy. The Internet says that it is a Debian-based Linux operating system. The Internet also tells a cautionary tale about an anthropologist who researched the habits and customs of the African peoples. He proposed
a game for the children to play — something like a race game. The first to arrive would win a prize. He was deeply surprised when all children unexpectedly held each other’s hands and ran off as a group. There could not be a single winner.

The runners happily cried “Ubuntu,” a Zulu word that is roughly translated as “I am because we are” but the translation does not convey the exact meaning of humanist philosophy put in the word. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the first black bishop of the Republic of South Africa, the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, explains through his book “No Future Without Forgiveness” that “a person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others… for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs to a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished…” This philosophy lies at the heart of the African renaissance concept.

“If you live in Africa and follow the ubuntu ethical choices, you will find the mutual understanding and the way to the consumer heart” thinks Mark Shuttleworth, the RSA entrepreneur and the creator of Ubuntu software widely used in Africa.

After the space journey on the board of “Soyuz TM” in May 2002 to the International Space Station where he spent eight days as a space tourist and upon termination of his travel to Antarctica aboard the icebreaker “Kapitan Khlebnikov,” Mark Shuttleworth has given himself up to development of open-source software available for the African inhabitants. Anyone can make additions, change the Ubuntu operating system and use it in developing of own software and data products: Ubuntu — there cannot be a single winner. This concept should be applied in business sphere as well. Nelson Mandela said “Ubuntu doesn’t mean people shouldn’t become richer. The question is whether you are ready to contribute into the society’s enrichment.”

Do you know that the space tourist Shuttleworth had a radio conversation with Nelson Mandela while being in space? When he returned to the Earth he embodied his ideas. He founded the Shuttleworth Foundation, TSF which finances, develops and innovates promotion in educational field. He contributes into research studies, projects development, supports the South African entrepreneurship and invests in the start-ups. In 2013 the Forbes named Mark Shuttleworth as “the most disruptive name in computing.”

 

Be ready

Makram Abbud, a senior officer of VTB Capital Plc for the Middle East and Africa, appointed to this position in 2012, before had a time to collaborate with Nomura Holdings Inc., UBS, Merrill Lynch — the largest Western and Asian investment banks. Mister Abbud said in one of his interview that the business philosophy of the Middle East and Africa mostly coincides with the philosophy of any developing market. Anyway, he gave some useful advise for the newcomers.

First of all, he advised to spare no expense to the research of market and core audience keeping in mind that each African country has its own specific nature. The thoroughly thought strategy can provide a company with such resource as local human capital assets.

Secondly, he recommended to consider all possible steps for cooperation with the locally-based partner who will not only furnish him with business contacts but also will help to sort out the market peculiarities. The both parties should have clear vision of what they want and should lend transparency to their collaboration. It is crucial.

Your company participation in the local market growth is your ticket to success because you may get a pioneer advantage.

We do not know whether Mr. Abbud meant ubuntu ethics or not but his recommendations look like as he did. The corporate social responsibility (or the CSR) is a philosophy that is practiced by all world largest companies. According to this concept, the companies respect the interests of the society bearing responsibility for any impacts of their business activities on their clients, suppliers, employees, shareholders and other involved parties. Therefore, the companies voluntary take additional commitments to enhance the local life quality thus answering the cited above Mandela’s question “are you ready to contribute into the society’s enrichment?”

When it comes to Africa, the CSR is perceived as the ubuntu element. The Shell Foundation has a hand in development of Flower Valley of the Southern Africa. Early Learning Centre is opened here to assist local children and adults with education.

The foreign investors working in Nigeria, the leading economy in Africa, warned that you should not run the business remotely. A company will achieve success only when it becomes a Nigerian one — both in a figural and the truest sense of the word. The main point is to make the local community accept the company’s brand. One of the illustrative examples is Unilever, a British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company working in Nigeria. Its officials prefer hiring local women who understand the region’s language, its habits and customs and social structure. Moreover, Unilever dynamically expands local production to decrease the transportation expenses.

Coca-Cola has engaged itself to create five million female work positions by 2020. It is the largest social project that has ever been undertaken by a business entity. As part of the project, the micro distribution centres (the MDC) opened in Africa hire women for key positions. The drinks go to the small sales outlets which usually are ignored by large vehicles. Both the company and the community benefit from this practice.

Rosatom has acquired the unique uranium deposit located not far from the Tanzanian elephant sanctuary. The company constructed a road but unfortunately the poachers took more advantage of the new road than anybody else — they started to overkill the animals. The Russian company charged itself with elephant protection and the local community answers with its support to the project.

In 2015 in the Kindia city, Guinea, the Russian Centre for Epidemic and Microbiological Research and Treatment was opened to support national health system and to help fighting the spread of the Ebola virus. The Centre was founded and equipped by RUSAL. The Russian camp hospital with a high stockage of pharma drugs was sent to this country.           

It was not the first RUSAL activity in Africa. Its bauxite and aluminum complex located in Fria town is one of the largest Guinea’s employer. In 2007 RUSAL acquired a controlling stake in ALSCON and now owns 85% of ALSCON with the rest of the shares belonging to the government of Nigeria. ALSCON includes an aluminium smelter with an annual capacity of 96 thousand tonnes, a port on the Imo River and a gas-fired power station.

RUSAL has sponsored the construction of paved roads network in Fria town, Guinea. The works were performed by a Henan Chine Company.           

The Chinese entrepreneurs will unlikely to name the main secret of the successful expansion to Africa using the Western CSR term. But what they do here is a pure ubuntu. In 2008 Hu Jintao, the leader of the People’s Republic of China, signed papers for contributing three billion of dollars within the framework of the Africa Lending and Assistance Project. In 2009 the Chinese government promised another 10 billion dollars. Beijing announced the creation of a billion Fund for Small and Medium-Sized Business, slashed to zero customs duties for 95% goods items produced in the poorest African countries and wrote off their debts. Do not forget of the pharma drugs supplied to 30 hospitals for a total amount of 73 mln dollars, 50 constructed schools and deepened educational program for African students visiting the Chinese higher educational institutions. The PR China motto “Africa for the Africans” was highly appreciated by the African leaders. And it makes no difficulties for China to establish strategic partnership with regional powers.

 

Africa Time

It is impossible to grasp the national business peculiarities without knowing the principles, which lie at the heart of African business etiquette. The first and the most important is to customize the watch and forget the Greenwich mean time. Africa has its own one. Only the Kenyan sportsmen run fast, the African business abhors haste.

Psychologists use special time consciousness classification that is easily understandable in comparison.

Rigorous time consciousness is a habitual feature of entrepreneurs from Northern Europe, Germany, North America and Japan.

Mid-potency time consciousness is a defining feature of entrepreneurs from Australia, Russia, New Zealand, most countries of the Eastern, Central and Southern Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, South Korea.

The so-called flexible time consciousness may be applied to the Arab world, Latin America, some countries of the Southeast and South Asia, Italy and Africa. Negotiations may last really long and the already reached decisions may be suspended. However, if engagement is entered, the assumed responsibilities are implemented in most cases.

The experienced foreign investors say that a meeting should be fixed for two weeks or upwards before. Nevertheless, don’t be late — it is considered bad manners to be slow in keeping an appointment. Do not tighten your vis-à-vis hand too strong when handshaking, the mild and gentle handshake shows your respect.

If you stay in Arabic-speaking Africa, you’d better bear in mind that of all forms of compromise Arabs prefer a bargain. It is customary to give people visiting cards and gifts with the right hand.

The South African etiquette resembles the European one: pre-arranged appointments, dynamical negotiations, business breakfasts, lunches and dinners, home invitations are in common practice. Surely, there are also some differences. For example, one Russian entrepreneur, who has reached success in the Republic of South Africa, says that respectabi­lity is of great importance. That means that if your car does not correspond to your guest’s car status, there is a risk to bring odium on you.

So, be in “style.” And always remember the old African proverb which by the way meets the needs of the age:

“Every morning in Africa, an antelope wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest antelope , or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or an antelope . When the sun comes up, you better start running.” It’s a struggle.

African start-up

Or the first step in becoming a millionaire

A Hotel located in vicinity of Bloemfontein city (the Republic of South Africa) offers its clients such services as spa, restaurants, conference-hall and an opportunity to spend a night in the typical South African slums. A “room” there costs about 75 euro, and overnight accommodation in the five star hotel’s campus building is about 100 – 170 euro. The know-how authors predict the questions of the puzzled tourist and genteelly says that it’s the world’s only slum with space heating and Wi-Fi.

Slum-tourism moves into the top gear in Africa, says El Mundo. According to the results of study undertaken by the University of Cape Town, about 83% tourists who have visited the impoverished areas then recommend their friends and acquaintances try slum excursion. Although some of the slum sightseers complain of seeing the Maasai people using mobile phones or wearing sneakers. But such complains make such innovative business just more popular. The start-up like mobile phones has become a symbol of modern Africa. Young entrepreneurs never fail to amaze the world with the diversity of ideas and business plans. 

Start from nothing

In the most cases, it is quite an easy matter to set up business in Africa. In Senegal, for example, the government service called APIX assists investors in starting new business from nothing. It takes only one day and requires no payment to incorporate a business. All registration rounds are passed online. The APIX Chief Manager assures that “if you provide us with all necessary papers at eight a.m., when we see you again at four p.m. you’ll be already the owner of incorporated business.”

New possibilities promote the entrepreneurship development. The country now employs the uniform procedure for documents processing although in the past all incorporation documents had to be furnished to the Ministry of Justice, then to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, to the Customs Service and to a notary. All state duties are paid over the Internet and the declaration is filled in online mode as well.

The APIX service incorporates businesses and assists in preparation of all necessary documents. The unified system of water and electricity supply, wastewater disposal and te­lephone loop connection eases the newcomer businessperson of that care.

Africa is a grateful region for innovations and start-ups. This is particularly so with the mobile technologies, different platforms and applications used in various spheres from banking sector on out to the agricultural industry.

The new Africans have lots of ideas both those already embodied and those that now are only turning into reality. The RV conceives to describe the most intriguing projects.

 

The RSA: more than just a city taxi

The South African company Mellowcabs offers both transportation services and advertising space.

The company founders calculated that the average intercity line is less than 3 miles (about 5 km), thus it is profitless for traditional oil-fuel vehicles but short distances are ideal for electric micro-vehicles such as Mellowcabs.

The Mellowcabs fleet contains small and green e-cars produced in the Republic of South Africa with strict adherence to the International Security Standards. The minicab is made of recycled thermoplastic, its roof is equipped with solar batteries and its frame illuminated by light-emitting diodes serves as an advertising space. The e-car passenger may use the built-in tablet PC and charge his or her mobile phone.

Nevertheless, that is not all. The e-car is more than just a simple billboard moving throughout a city. The advertisers receive much more advantages thanks to the geo-location software running on each cab’s on-board tablet. Thus, when the vehicle approaches a certain store or restaurant, the software can triggers specific adverts, for example a promotional offer or monthly special.

The Mellowcabs move within the city and keep the pre-fixed itinerary. The company tenders his services both for the local residents helping in everyday trips (which are cheaper than the traditional taxi trips due to the fuel saving) and tourist, and serves various events, meetings and conferences.

A Mellowcab is a fully electric minicab, it can easily be hailed via a phone call or the Mellowcabs website or app that also allows its passengers to see where the nearest cab is or to trace its route.

 

Kenya: Internet brick

A group of engineers and software developers from Kenya introduced their start-up named BRCK. It is a device that looks like a black brick and preserves the brick’s main feature — its hardness. Genuinely it is a wireless router which can be used everywhere as it is not afraid of water, dirt, it can work for 8-hours in full power mode. The device can be charged from any other gadget or from its own solar panel. And vice versa, the router may be used to charge gadgets. More than 20 devices can be simultaneously connected to the network. BRCK comes with 4Gb of onboard storage and other additional features.

The gadget guarantees stable Internet connections even in areas where electricity irregularity is of frequent occurrence.

 

Tanzania: sun-energy for everyone

The Tanzanian specialists opened the eco-energy start-up — the so called KARIBU solar power. Karibu means Welcome in Swahili. The main goal of this community-focused business project is to make solar power more affordable in Africa even for the low-income citizens.

The company produces small lamps consisting of three components: light, battery and solar panel. The lamp components are sold in the piecemeal way, on rent to own principle. A consumer purchases the light and battery components (by the way, the battery can be used to charge a mobile phone). The everyday battery charging requires the same money that he usually spends for kerosene but in 30 days the consumer takes ownership of the solar panel portion and becomes solar indepen­dent.

 

Nigeria: pay where you want

The joint Nigerian-Finnish start-up IroFit Payments earned 600 thousand dollars for six months. “Pay wherever you are” says its slogan. The business idea is very simple: its developers created and patented the real-time transactions technology that requires no Internet connection. They employ basic GSM connectivity available from any mobile phone. The payment transaction is secured and complies with the stringent global standards.

The project is still in development but the company looks to facilitate the shopping experience of common buyers and to boost sales of small and medium-size business.

 

Kenya: income from the shadow

Shades System East Africa firm legally earns money out of the shadow. Its business idea is simple and genius for a continent where a number of clear days and high temperatures prevails over the rainy ones — the Shades System sells tents and shades starting from Car Parking Shades for covering and shielding military machines on out to wedding pavilions. Among its clients are careful drivers who want to protect their vehicles, some non-governmental and humanitarian agencies with headquarter situated in Nairobi. Moreover, the firm exports its goods to Somalia, Congo and Rwanda.

 

Ghana: be healthy

The Ghanaian company ClaimSync have developed the software that synchronizes all patient’s information from biometric data to his medical card records in one media. The technology enables hospitals and health clinics to direct inquiries to insurance companies in electronic format thus making the life of medical staff easier and tussling with the paper chase.

The project fell under GenKey notice, the international provider of biometric ID management solutions, which acquired the African start-up.

School for the “new Africans”

McKinsey Global Institute researches say that the African countries may create another 74 million employment positions in the nearest future, most of which will encompass the spheres of agriculture, industry and services. This is just a business where qualified specialists and managers are in high need, that is the “new Africans” who are highly motivated and ambitious and for whom a goal to become a millionaire is not a clouded outlook but is his or her personal business plan. Africa unlike any developed country where the market competition is high gives more opportunities to reach such plan.

Almost any business venture is much-in-demand in contemporary Africa. That is why it’s easily explainable why the young Africans evince more interest in business education provided by foreign schools and more often by the native African ones. First of all, it’s cheaper. Secondly, it’s more obtainable. Third, even the Europeans give the highest regard for the increasing quality of African business schools and universities. For example, the German and French students believe that to obtain the education in the Republic of South Africa (the RSA) means being on-trend.

The United Nations experts think that this tendency will grow. Africa where population is almost 1.2 billion people show the highest urbanization speed in the world. In 1950 the number of town people was just around 33 million, in 2011 it increased up to 414 million and in 2015 it likely will reach half a billion level. Changes in people’s life style influence the educational sector. Today about 42% of the Africans are younger 15 and they need to get education. And bu­siness education stands above all others. 

Distance makes its more reachable

The black continent, says the research investigation of Ambient Insight “The Africa Market for Self-paced e-Learning Products and Services: 2011 – 2016 forecast and analysis,” keeps world leading position in the distance education. Total growth rating of the African e-learning is of 15.2 %, first goes Senegal (30.4%), then Zambia (27.9%), Zimbabwe (25.1%) and Kenya (24.9%). In 2011 e-learning profits amounted to 250.9 mln dollars and in 2016 it should be tripled in four African countries and doubled in more seven ones.

Even now Africa can be proud of the highest usage index of such products as finished content product, development of specialized educational software, content creation cloud mechanisms, educational platforms implementation services. In particular, the usage index of e-learning cloud products is now of 38.6%.

E-learning is available not only in African educational institutions but also in the foreign ones: the European and American schools now provide the possibilities of the distance training for the African specialists. Thus, the training courses of the Edinburgh Business School (MBA, master’s courses) attend more than four thousand African students. They may choose between the e-learning or lessons with one of the home-located approved training partner. Kenyan student Alpesh Vadher, graduate of the Edinburgh Business School, says that he feels pride when seeing his Diploma with honors hanging in his office: “The MBA Degree conferred by this Business School counts for much and is of good reputation among our business partners. Flexible training modular system makes it possible to combine job with studying and to finish your education in eighteen months.”

The African students have plenty of choices: full-time and part-time attendance, foreign and African business schools or universities — the diploma’s reputation is not any the worse for it. But this was not always the case.

Dr. Karodia Yusuf, dean of The Management College of the South Africa (MANCOSA) says “that in the past foreign business school offered only simplified MBA courses for the RSA students. They were sure that would be enough… Can you imagine the MBA course with excluded financial or marketing course units, for example? When knowing it the RSA Government made such miserable providers leave the country.”

This black-list included schools from USA, Australia and the United Kingdom. Nowadays the Higher Education Council supervises the educational courses, the National Department of Education and Training controls all financial questions and the South-African Qualification Commission is responsible for the correct conferment of degrees and diplomas.

“We provide education in English but sometimes we collaborate with universities on offering projects in other languages. Our primary focus in international education market is on filling the business competence gap of managers” says Dr. Karodia.

International financial organizations and world companies have contributed greatly into the major breakthrough of the African higher school. The most distinguished example is the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa — the project that has joined efforts of seven funds: Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford, Rockefeller, MacArthur, Hewlett, Mellon and Kresge. In 2000 – 2010 the funds invested about 440 mln dollars in development of the African university.

In 2014 the World Bank approved the sponsorship schedule for the project on foundation of 19 good practices centers in the West and Central Africa. The winning universities will receive cash assets for development of natural sciences, engineering and technical fields as well as for medical education and researches in farming sector. For these purposes, the International Development Association which is a part of the World Bank devoted funds for eight countries: Nigeria ($7 mln), Ghana ($24 mln), Senegal ($16 mln), Benin ($8 mln), Burkina Faso ($8 mln), Cameroon ($8 mln), Togo ($8 mln) and Gambia ($2 mln).

 

MBA: made in Africa

The MBA School takes leading position among the business schools represented in the RSA, the number of which exceeds twenty. Then follows Tanzania, Kenya … Some schools work in Egypt, with the largest one located at Cairo’s American University.

Such South African schools as University of Pretoria, University of the Witwatersrand, University of Capetown, University of Stellenbosch have received wide universal recognition. The richest African businesspersons studied here.

The coordination process and experience exchange are maintained by two professional associations: South Africa Business Schools Association and Association of African Business Schools. Their combined efforts succeeded in framing uniform business education standards for the whole continent.

The above listed schools are of public form of ownership but there are also some private ones. Two largest private schools, the Management College of Southеrn Africa (MANCOSA) and Regent Business School, are located in the RSA.

Dr. Karodia, dean of the MANCOSA, says that his school specializes in distance learning. Most students live in 15 Sub-Saharan African countries. Thanks to the partnership project with International School of Business of Novosibirsk State University of Economics and Management there are Russian students in Africa. Some students came from Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Mauritius and Seychelles to the RSA. The school is located in Durban. As long ago as 1999 it was awarded the quality status by the British Quality Assurance Agency (BQAA). The school’s distinctive feature is its strict gender approach: the number of men students equals to the number of women students.

Regent Business School was founded in 1998. Its curriculum was elaborated in close cooperation with the British University. The overwhelming majority of attendees study on General MBA course.

The South African Republic is included in the list of the countries providing the most proficient education. It is just about 30 thousand foreign students study there. Not much if comparing with such historical educational centers as in USA (about 600 thousand foreign students), Germany (220 thousand) and Russia (60 thousand). Nevertheless, the Internet is abundant with learning proposal in the RSA and graduates’ memories about their student days spent in Africa. By the way, the author has never seen a line describing the unsuccessful career of any school graduate.

Nowadays good sponsorship and experienced lecturers offer great opportunities for the business education in Africa: most teachers have Cambridge certificates and diplomas (CELTA and DELTA.)

Another great advantage of obtaining education in Africa is its relative cheapness. One year spent in the RSA University or technikon (somewhat between college and institute) will cost about 5 – 11 thousand dollars. Besides while staying in Africa you may try and solicit various benefits from student funds and financial assistance organizations. The list of such funds is available upon the request at the chosen educational institution.

It is important to note that the language of instruction is English. By the way, you have to live just five years in the RSA to become its citizen and student days may be included.