Building profitable businesses in Africa: A triangular construct theory
Getting to grips with how these three points of the triangle interact could be the key to sustainable business and unlocking long-term profits.
- Government and business: The greatest concern, to put it mildly, of any government is to lose the acceptance of society. Even your most ardent dictator needs to feel wanted. Those in government know they can be voted out or overthrown at any time. Businesses are either not aware of this fundamental anxiety of government or, if they are, of its implications. Conversations with governments are often focused on what the business wants, and sometimes wants NOW. Instead, a company can gain a competitive edge by demonstrating it appreciates the problems that are top of a government’s list of priorities. And these are often not the same as what is top of the company’s priority list. Companies need to include in their conversations with government ways to address problems of national importance. They need to demonstrate the benefits they can bring, not just in terms of tax revenue, but provide tangible data on how they will boost the local economy through local employment; develop a local supply chain; support initiatives that develop job-relevant skills and give citizens opportunities for social mobility; and even help a country move further along the industry value chain.
- Business and society: Businesses also need to have the right conversations with the right segments of society. Often, companies have a stakeholder map which has the name of every single person they think could possibly impact their business, be influenced by their business, or become their advocates. However, the reality is that each business should look hard at the eco-system around it. A company’s best advocates are those closest to home – employees and their dependents, local suppliers and their employees and dependents, and communities directly affected by operations of the business. I genuinely believe helping society is a bona-fide business strategy that will reap long-term rewards.
- Society, business and government: In short, each business should look hard at the eco-system around it and target the people with ‘skin in the game’ – employees, local suppliers and impacted communities. They are the groups of people that a company should engage in conversation explaining their business plans and objectives – in ways that are accessible and understandable – and make the beneficiaries of their social investment projects. They are the groups of people who will not only speak convincingly on behalf of the company but are also an important part of the society that government wants to please. But to be true advocates, they must genuinely feel they have a meaningful share in the prosperity created by the business.
Nobody says this is easy. Many companies will have experienced the day-to-day frustrations of doing business in an African country: the stultifying bureaucracy, inability to find reliable local suppliers and the shortage of local skills. In many ways, one could argue this is the fault of governments. However, it is all too easy for companies to be vilified, especially when they fail to benefit society more widely. Pointing out examples of exploitation and neglect by the corporate world is a perennial vote winner.
That is why it is so important for companies to convince governments of the positive role they can play within communities. Show them they are investing for the long term. I passionately believe that responsible business can create growth that is genuinely inclusive. To achieve that growth we don’t just need to have conversations with government and society, we need to have the right conversations with government and society. I started Kina to help foreign investors in Africa do just that.
Rosalind Kainyah, MBE, Founder and Managing Director
What we are up to & News
Ahaspora’s Webinar on Building Business Resilience in Our New World
Join our Managing Director, Rosalind Kainyah MBE, as she participates in Ahaspora’s webinar “Beyond Survival, Thrive! Building Business Resilience in Our New World” with Kosi Yankey, Executive Director of Ghana’s National Board for Small Scale Industries, and David Hutchful, Co-Founder of Bloom Impact. The webinar will explore ways to support Ghanaian business owners impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, sharing ideas on how they can cope in these difficult times and possibly take advantage of the crisis to pivot their businesses for growth. To register, please click here.
Date: Sunday 16th August 2020. Time: 18:00 GMT/19:00 BST.
Joël Rault appointed as the Chief Representative, Western Europe for Gawah Holdings
Congratulations to Joël Rault, a member of our Advisory Board, who has just been appointed as the Chief Representative, Western Europe for Gawah Holdings. Click here to read more.
Strategic Partnership Between Kina Advisory and INTESTRAT Services Ltd
We are thrilled to announce a strategic partnership between Kina Advisory and INTESTRAT Services Ltd. Reshma Shah, founder and CEO of INTESTRAT Services, will also join Kina as a Partner and Senior Associate. Reshma has extensive experience in Finance, Strategy, Risk & Performance Management, Change Management and ESG. For our full press release, ‘click here’.
Joël Rault joins Kina’s Advisory Board
We are thrilled to have Joël Rault, Chairman and Founder of Hermès Advisory, join our Advisory Board. Joël has previously served as an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for the Government of France and has extensive experience in administration and the management of private companies. He is also an emerging leader of the Harvard Kennedy School. We are looking forward to having his advice and guidance as we forge ahead with advising companies operating in Africa on Sustainability. For our full press release, ‘click here’
Invest Africa Ltd’s Webinar On Renewable Energy Solutions in Africa
Join our Managing Director, Rosalind Kainyah MBE, as she moderates Invest Africa’s webinar on Renewable Energy Solutions in Africa – Covid19, Sustainability & the future of the continent with Jennifer Boca of Lekela Power, Mansoor Hamayun of BBOXX and Scott Mackin of Denham Capital. They will be looking at whether investment bodies will have to pivot away from renewable energy assets in light of COVID-19; how renewable energy operations have been affected by the virus; the multilateral funds such as AfDB’s SEFA play in renewable energy developments across Africa; and the importance funds should place on ESG standards in the investment decision?
Date: Wednesday 6 May 2020. Time: 12:00-13:00 BST