Top B-Schools Seek Opportunities in Africa

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For the last few decades, European, Asian, and American business schools have merged from-a-distance partnerships with programs on the African continent. Now, reports a recent Businessweek article, “For B-Schools, Opportunities Rise in Africa,” these Western b-schools are ready to get up close and personal with this emerging economy. Now, in additional to faculty exchange programs and occasional student tours of Africa, top business schools are setting up campuses on the continent, with a heavy focus on EMBA programs, entrepreneurship, and academic research centers.

“Business education is the fastest-growing single academic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is immensely popular and very much in need, but the problem is that all but a few of the business schools are fly-by-night or not very good,” explains Guy Pfefferman, CEO of the Global Business School Network. “There is a huge unmet demand for quality, so I suspect that more Western business schools may come in, since there is a market.”
The China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) was one of the b-school-in-Africa pioneers, launching its Ghana EMBA program in 2009. Unlike most other Western schools that have entered Africa, however, the CEIBS program has no local academic partner and participants receive a CEIBS degree. The first class, a group of 30 Ghanaians and 10 Nigerians, is set to graduate this December. Tuition for the two-year program is around $30,000, half of what the same EMBA degree would cost in China.

Among the European business schools, Germany’s Frankfurt School of Finance and Management has launched an academic research center devoted to the study of microfinance and a two-year master of finance program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The program, which is run in conjunction with the Universit√© Protestante au Congo, costs $450 a year.

France’s Grenoble Graduate School of Business set up camp earlier in September in Casablanca, creating a program in collaboration with Morocco’s ESCA Ecole de Management for African managers. The program will offer a master’s in business development and a doctorate of business administration degree. 600 students have already signed up for the two-year program.

For the U.S. business schools, much of the b-school action in Africa has surrounded the 10,000 Women initiative, a $100 million program funded by Goldman Sachs focused on improving management education amongst women in developing countries in Africa. As part of the program, Michigan Ross has worked with more than 100 Rwandan women entrepreneurs at the School of Finance and Banking in Kigali, Rwanda. Columbia Business School, another 10,000 Women partner, has helped Kenya’s United States International University launch a new Global Executive MBA program, and is working with Tanzania’s University of Dar es Salaam to develop a new certificate program for entrepreneurs.

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