19 August 2022

Although Africa has never been the sleeping giant it is often portrayed to be, the “Africa Rising” narrative is not without merit. Undoubtedly, Africa has always been rich with mineral resources, arable land, diverse markets, and human capital. Political upheavals have wrought instability in African countries since colonial seizures and subsequent freedom fighting struggles. Recently, however, African economies have been reviving their growth potential and have become increasingly attractive as international investment hubs.

Embracing the complexity

There are important human resource considerations for international businesses that want to expand into Africa sustainably – from culture to varying regulatory environments. The continent is large, made up of 54 independent member states, each with its own jurisprudence and sovereign laws. There are thousands of languages spoken by people from a staggering number of different ethnic backgrounds. Technological development varies, too. 


Understanding the complexity of the different markets within Africa is the first step for businesses in aligning their core business strategies with their human resource or hiring strategies. In this regard, the slogan “think global, act local” becomes critically important. 


For many industries, COVID-19 has been something of a blessing in disguise – health precautionary measures are indiscriminate, it’s the same rules for everybody. In this way, the pandemic has shrunk the size of the world and equalised people of different economic strata to observe the same rules and regulations. With insights arising out of the pandemic, businesses have a chance to strengthen the link between human resource and organisational performance when expanding into different African economies. 


COVID-19 has also resulted in more people working remotely, some deploying hybrid models for office work and working from home. Multinational companies have also had a chance to leverage technology to connect workers from different countries and continents, thus facilitating knowledge sharing and multicultural connections.


Internal marketing efforts must therefore also adapt in accordance with the distinct environments they are targeting, their human capital’s distinct backgrounds and economic status. What is a norm in New York may be taboo in Lagos and vice versa. Such diversity necessitates that companies employ hybrid methods in filling vacancies from C-suite management to lower level workers. 


Culturally diverse environments produce significantly better results for companies gearing themselves to be future fit and aligning their business objectives with social change. From this perspective, there could be no greater opportunity than actively participating in the future of African economies this century.

Catch our eyeAFRICA podcast series

As part of its global network and access to markets, AIMS International has introduced a webinar series that focuses on Africa, where global leaders working in Africa and the Middle East share their experiences, advice, best practices, and opportunities on the continent. 


The webinar series is geared for global organisations and leaders focused on making Africa and the Middle East key players in their sustainability growth plans during the pandemic. For more information and to listen to the latest podcasts click here.

Arthur Nkuna

Arthur is a business management professional with expertise in business strategy and talent management. Prior to joining AIMS International, he worked at leading South African financial services institutions, arts and culture development agencies, and an accelerator hub where he was responsible for the recruitment and development of creative industry business owners. He is based in Johannesburg. 


Arthur writes with Mohau Bosiu, an independent marketing and media writer in South Africa collaborating with us on eyeAFRICA.