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 Executive education is one of the most powerful levers for transformation in Africa

2015-07-28 00:00
Frik Landman in Sake24

Established 16 years ago, USB-ED is rated among the top 100 executive education providers in the world today. Frik Landman, CEO, answers a few questions.

Who and what is USB Executive Development (USB-ED)?
USB-ED is the public executive development and training company of the University of Stellenbosch. The idea of a separate entity within the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) originated at the Bellville Park Campus in 1999. This is a unique private company focusing purely on executive education. This paved the way for growth from a local to an international player in this field. The company is internationally recognised for the work it does.

How does USB-ED differ from USB?
USB-ED focuses mainly on offering management development programmes, and customised programmes for companies in the private sector and organisations in the public sector in order to reach strategic objectives. USB​ focuses on degree programmes such as the MBA. The two entities work closely together.

How does USB-ED apply business principles in an education environment?
USB-ED is a business without subsidies and financing from outside. Its aim is to make a profit as well as to change the way business managers here and in the rest of Africa respond to challenges. Therefore, USB-ED must be a sustainable business. We are in the unique situation that we can apply what we learn to others.

What is USB-ED's involvement in Africa?
Africa is the richest continent in the world in terms of natural resources, but also the poorest. It is estimated that 11 million people are currently filling management positions in Africa but they are not delivering. Executive education can change that. It is not a quick fix for all problems, but one of the most powerful levers for transformation. We want to increase this pool of drivers to reach the critical mass with managers who have the skills and thinking to turn Africa's resources into a sustainable value for all.

Where in Africa is USB-ED involved?
We are in 14 countries in Africa, with local offices and facilities in Cape Town, Gauteng and Durban. In Africa, there are offices in Gaborone in Botswana, taking care of the SADC countries, and in Tanzania. In September, an office is opening in Ethiopia. We have partners in West Africa, Nigeria and Ghana.

How do you work in Africa?
Through partnerships. We engage in a country at the invitation of a partner, or we go looking for a partner. The partner in a particular country adds contextual value. The two parties create a synergy that has a critical impact on the conditions and environment of that country.

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