Greetings from Nairobi, Kenya — the country’s capital also nicknamed the Silicon Savannah due to its “concentration of innovation spaces, incubation centers, accelerators, and maker labs…”! I am excited to join ~30 other colleagues tomorrow, along with Professor of Economics Jonas Hjort, as we meet with business leaders and policymakers across a diverse range of both private and public sectors to explore key topics, including:
- How to operate efficiently and profitably in environments characterized by weak institutions
- “Making the rules” in the private sector through discussions with policymakers
- Opportunities for investment, including growth from foreign investors and multinationals
- How MBAs interested in Africa can add value!
Over the last couple of months, our group has met weekly to learn more about the successes and challenges faced by the East Africa region as it achieved high economic growth rates over the last decade. For example, East Africa is expected to record the highest economic growth rate in Africa in 2018, driven by strong domestic demand and high public infrastructure spending (which makes sense, traffic in Nairobi can be quite awful even across short distances!). And, Africa will contribute 25% of the global workforce by 2050 (up from 16% in 2016), when the population of Nigeria will surpass that of the United States.
We also worked in small groups to facilitate discussions around relevant business topics, such as China’s influence on East Africa (i.e. China is Africa’s #1 trade partner, #1 infrastructure financier, and operates 10k+ Chinese firms in Africa) and the acceleration of the Africa-China partnership.
I invite you to follow along with us (#cbschazen) and return back here over the next week to discover what we learned from our exciting list of company visits:
I promise to come back with more cute photos of animals (baby elephants! giraffes!) collected from my classmates, many of whom are wrapping up safaris across Kenya!
-Ray Phua ’18