Cape Town - The latest research by the African Management Institution (AMI) shows that the continent is severely lacking in managers with the skills to advance its economy.
“Africa is a continent that is going through an economic growth spurt and is brimming with talent but is tragically short of the skills needed to support this,” according to Walter Baets, director of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB).
The 2012 AMI survey, which drew from 50 in-depth interviews with individuals at 40 organisations across Africa, including employers, educators and training providers, showed that in Africa the overall efforts to develop high quality managers are entirely inadequate to meet the opportunities the next few decades will bring.
The report states that more young Africans are pursuing higher education, but too often the quality is low.
To address this, Baets believes that it is the responsibility of business schools to rebalance education in Africa, so that leaders acquire the necessary skills to develop inclusive business, and contribute to human and economic advancement.
“Educational institutions need to question the type of training that is being provided," said Baets.
"In confronting the lack of managers at home and in the rest of Africa, the continent needs institutions that take on the responsibility to ensure that we have capable managers who can perform to international standards and managers who are capable of dealing with the unique opportunities and challenges that set Africa apart from the rest of the world."
He said the appetite for learning in Africa is clearly there.
According to Bruce MacDonald, who heads the Programme for Management Development at the UCT GSB – a two-week programme that runs twice each year – African delegates on the course have surged in the past decade.
“We live in a society that yearns for new ideas and solutions for growing social and environmental problems," said Baets.
"It is here that universities contribute most. Africa needs African ways of doing things.”