Page 24

24 \ Business Life \ February 2013

www.GatewayToAfrica.com

diverse backgrounds without having to move from one’s home locations and to see how things are done differently in other markets. At the same time, it’s also an opportunity to impart knowledge to other people outside of the continent and to foster a better understanding of things on the continent.

In Africa skilled staff can cost more

GTA: So you’ve found skilling people up and finding skilled staff for your African business a challenge, but you’re finding solutions to those challenges? Matimba Mbungela: Oh definitely, we’re working through it, I would say that we’re beginning to crack the code on it.

Albert Ellis CEO of Harvey Nash Recruitment GTA: There is a massive skills shortage in the African booming markets….do you see that as a potential market for your company? Albert Ellis: We have actually recently done some quite significant high level recruitment in Africa, in South Africa and West Africa. So we’ve executed from London and these have been pretty big searches, for pretty big packages. So from that point of view we’ve been exposed to global technology companies wanting to expand their presence in Africa. I think that if you look at global companies, Africa is the last great emerging market [where] the value is seen as untapped. You could see Latin America coming on stream. Arguably parts of Asia are mature like Japan and Korea; even China is becoming that way. When you look at Africa, it’s the last great untapped market with almost a

billion people. So the issue Africa has is obviously infrastructure. If you look at Asia the infrastructure is absolutely suburb, by and large, even in a country like Vietnam where we are. Political stability is very good in Asia; it’s not so good in Africa. And the third point is that the appetite for investment in places like Asia - the way the government will help and protect you - is quite hard to beat and that’s why we’ve been drawn to those parts. But if you look at Africa as a continent, it’s got all the wealth and the minerals. There is definitely a sense that Africa’s time will be at some point in the next century, even if the last century was America’s and the current century belongs to China. Africa is going to follow and possibly overlap. We know that China has already identified Africa as one of their key areas. One of the drawbacks to Africa’s market, is that it’s quite a small market for our services. So when you look at executive recruitment, it’s a pretty small market there.

Debbie Thomas Deloitte - Head of Africa Services

“I think that if you look at global companies, Africa is the last great emerging market [where] the value is seen as untapped.” - Albert Ellis,

CEO of Harvey Nash Recruitment

GTA: Would you say recruitment of personnel is still one of the biggest problems in Africa? Debbie Thomas: Skilled recruitment… look to be frank with you, I think that’s a problem everywhere, but I think there’s been more and more focus on Africa and

“Africa has a very good track record in terms of skills development.” - Debbie Thomas,

Deloitte - Head of Africa Services

education and the skilling up of local people. But Africa has a very good track record in terms of the skills development. GTA: I guess it’s still the skills shortage that makes Africa more expensive. Debbie Thomas: That’s your challenge, you know, why would someone go to Africa versus going to India or China? A client of ours had bought an asset in India and as part of the integration of that company into the global organisation they had sent some of their shop stewards from South Africa to India to look at their operations there. And apparently these shop stewards went back and said, we’ve got it so good here in South Africa, and it was very interesting to be able to see a different perspective, which they hadn’t seen before.

Gateway to Africa February 2013  
Gateway to Africa February 2013  

GatewayToAfrica.com is a multi-platform title for businesses looking to take part in expansion opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Advertisement