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Do you have a MBA :Master in Business in Africa?

June 20, 2012

I thought that going to a business school , having a post graduate degree & all the degrees expected as well as fluency in different language added to a long profesional experience as a high executive in various multinationals was my passport t succeed in Doing business in Africa… What an illusion, I had forgotten few realities on the field:

1-Corruption of the public services : they love you more when you don’t pay taxes… dilemma: What to do?

2-Corruption of the people working for your client: they claim a share of each cent made & if you happen not to play the game , your competencies, professional behavior, & other objective criterias have no value in their eyes. Only cash talks.

3-Police who are supposed to protect your assets are the first to steal your goods. Yeah… I cannot count the number of billboards or vinyl I have gotten stolen …

4-Insurance hardly work (in DRCongo)

5- Your competitors cheat by not paying the required taxes & dump prices …

6-The big companies who claim advocating good governance are hypocrits (How can you favor a supplier who does dumping without questionning some issues). They don’t pay you or they make up stories not to pay you… And the bigger the name the worse , the behavior. I will spare them for now. I am currently on a lawsuit with a big french company who failed to pay our services and another big US multinational was playing hide & seek… So the cheaters are not not just the Africans indeed…

7-No bank will give you a loan, so you invest whatever money you make…

8-The legal system is so corrupted that you need cash to win a case (it’s not about who is right or wrong, it is about who has money to waste)

9-Since you are an entrepreneur, everybody thinks you are rich, so tax people will come harass you just to get a bribe.

10- The white man complex is soo deeply rooted in the society that Black women who speak up & complain are seen like pain in the a..

11-Everybody think they are smarter than you… Even your own staff…Do I look like a fool

12- Instead of focusing on your business you become an expert in tax management issues..

13-You don’t need any degree to succeed or access certain position if you are related to a Head of State (I know a certain country where the presidential family is into all businesses…)

14-The ratio of a local employee salary compared to an expatriate is scandalous…one of my former boss accused me of being a communist when I complained that my deputy was paid 10 x less than me… Actually I paid the price for it but I have never regretted standing for my staff.

15- Somebody’s tribe has an impact on his personality or so they say. I was born in the Senegal of Senghor where we don’t discriminate tribes & grew up in Houphouet Boigny’s Cote d’Ivoire where even foreigners were seen as Ivorians…

I guess all this is not in the business guides of “how to do business in Democratic Republic of Congo” lool … So I assume I fully deserve an MBA (Master in Business in Africa) LOOOOL… Come to Kinshasa & you will learn everything they don’t tell you in Business schools.

Just because I believe in my continent, i don’t give up but how does the government expect people to invest in such an environment?

But I don’t regret each bit of it, since I live for overcoming challenges. I will not give up. LOL. The only way to change thinks is from within.

Let’s try & work towards the change by stepping out of our comfort zone.

Be the change you want to see in Africa

Nabou FALL

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