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 Africans must get rid of Afro pessimism

2014-03-17 15:00
Anne Engelbrecht
The 15th annual Woordfees was held in Stellenbosch from 6 – 16 March 2014.  USB-ED sponsored the discussion session of presenter Lynette Francis in the 08h00 – 09h00 time slot. Frik Landman, CEO of USB-ED, was a participant in a panel discussion on Wednesday the 12th of March on RSG (a national Afrikaans radio station with almost  2 million listeners). Prof Russel Botman from the University of Stellenbosch was a participant on Friday the 14th regarding Innovation and Ethics.

Topic: An Africa of the 21st century
Wiehan Visser, Student SU., Alayne Reesberg (CEO: World  Design Capital Cape Town 2014), Lynette Francis (RSG), Frik Landman

Topic: The challenges faced by businesses today.
Martin Butler, Lynette Francis (RSG), Prof Andre Roux,
Jody Hendricks (RSG)


Africans must get rid of Afro pessimism
Pessimism about Africa is stronger in South Africa than in the rest of Africa. We as Africans must rid ourselves of so-called “Afro pessimism.” Youngsters in Africa are willing and excited about entrepreneurship and to take care of themselves, paving the way for a revival of Africa in the 21st century.

This was the key message by Frik Landman, CEO of USB Executive Development (USB-ED), Prof Andre Roux, director of the Institute for Futures Research at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) and Martin Butler, senior lecturer in operations and information management at USB, taking part in panel discussions broadcasted by the RSG morning program, Praat Saam, at this year’s Woordfees in Stellenbosch.

According to Landman the words “Afro pessimism” is just not fitting for Africa anymore. “In the twelve African countries wherever USB-ED has a footprint, a spirit of positiveness and self-confidence is very much evident.

“About 42% of the world’s natural resources are in Africa and with most of the agricultural land. The continent has 1 billion people, of which about 640 million is younger than 24 and about 460 under the age of 15 years. Business leaders and managers on the continent amount to about 11 million.

“Yet Africa is still very poor with the biggest problem being the implementation of economic plans and strategies. The biggest challenge, however, is to equip these leaders and managers with skills to move beyond making plans, to implement it and to utilise its resources to the benefit of all in Africa”, Landman said.

According to him there are three Africa’s in the minds of people – the politicians, what is read in the media and what ordinary people experience every day. “It is the last mentioned that excites me the most and which provide a vast human potential. This should be combined with the natural resources of the continent.”

An African entrepreneurial revolution is needed. South Africans, however, must be careful to judge this from a South African perspective, with the entrepreneurial spirit in many African countries being higher than locally.
“Involvement in Africa should be by way of partnerships and South Africans must be careful not to be arrogant of what was achieved here in the past,” Landman said.

Regarding training and development, Brazil with a population of 200 million people has about 2 000 institutions providing business training, while India with a population 1 billion has about 1 000 institutions.  Africa with a population of 1 billion has only 90 institutions. If international standards are applied, this shrinks to just 10 institutions of which about 6 are in South Africa.
Prof Roux said that entrepreneurs are the “salt of the earth” and provides the spark to economic growth. Two of the main components of entrepreneurship is education and not to fear failure.

Source:  (in Afrikaans)

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Africa; Executive Development