Africapitalism: A new Era for Africa

9th August 2018

Former Heirs Holdings Intern, Jerry Petit-Frere, currently undergoing his MBA at Cornell, wrote an interesting feature on Africapitalism.

Read his thoughts below:

Africa as a continent has been an emerging market for the past 20 years.  The use of modern-day technology has been part of some of the leading advancements taking place in Africa.  However, infrastructure, food crisis and education still lag behind.   What is the solution to help Africa overcome these challenges? According to Heirs Holdings, an investment firm in Nigeria, Africapitalism is the solution that will propel Africa forward.  Africapitalism is defined as the private sector’s commitment to Africa’s development through long-term investment in strategic sectors of the economy that creates economic prosperity and social wealth.

In the summer of 2013, I had the privilege of doing my internship through the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s (TEF) African Markets Internship Program (AMIP).  The Emerging Markets Institute was instrumental in connecting me with this internship.  Institute TEF is a subsidiary within Heirs Holdings. The AMIP program places MBA interns from around the world with SME’s in Africa.  I completed my internship at Bookworld, a chain retail bookstore in Lusaka, Zambia.

If Africapitalism holds true, there still remains a number of challenges for Africa to be successfully developed with a thriving economy.  The two main challenges I faced during my internship experience and travels throughout the continent include, the limited availability of industry and market research and the development of human capital.

In my first year at Johnson, the Sustainable Global Enterprise (SGE) Immersion and my leadership roles prepared me well to face these challenges.  About thirty per cent of my internship project was focused on organizational transformation.  Using the frameworks that I learned during my consulting project in my immersion, I was able to thoroughly assess and resolve structural and procedural issues facing the company.  Additionally, one of my responsibilities was to create a bonus and incentive structure.  For my previous SGE project, my team created a set of tools to assess the motivational factors of a casino in Las Vegas.  I was able to take what I learned and create a similar assessment to better understand what motivates Zambians but in particular Bookworld’s employees.  This assessment is the tool which was used to create bonuses and incentives.

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