The Africa Business Fellowship is a partnership between Econet, African Leadership Network (ALN), and Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT). The program will match young American business professionals with paid 6-month placements in African companies. Its purpose is to strengthen relationships between the African and American business communities and provide future American business leaders with the hands-on experience they need to truly understand business in Africa. We believe that by exposing high-achieving American professionals to African business at this stage in their careers, we are setting the stage for increased American-African investment and more meaningful collaboration.
The Africa Business Fellowship is an unparalleled opportunity for American professionals to gain invaluable insight and hands-on experience in African businesses. It is a career development opportunity, an inter-cultural exchange program, and a networking platform. The ABF will develop high-potential American business professionals into leaders who have a sophisticated understanding of how business is done in Africa. In the long run, it will transform business relations between the United States and Africa.
The ABF represents a radically different approach to intercultural exchange that places value on Africa’s contributions to shaping global business practices.
Last year, Africa was the fastest growing region in the world. Global foreign investment flows into the region now outstrip official aid. Increasingly, entrepreneurs and investors are looking for ways to tap into the continent’s potential. By 2035, the region is set to have the largest working-age population of anywhere in the world – bigger than China or India.
For Africa to take full advantage of this growth, a dynamic private sector and an increase in international trade are essential, and investment in Africa must be robust, stable, and beneficial to all involved. Both Africans and non-Africans alike must have a deep understanding of the African business climate and a sophisticated awareness of the continent’s unique challenges and opportunities. The mission of the ABF is to develop leaders who have that knowledge and – more importantly – a passion for business development in Africa.
The fellowship aims to increase affinity for this collaboration between African and American businesses, and expose future American business decision makers to the continent early on in their careers.
The ABF has three main objectives:
Exposure to African business
The ABF gives American business professionals hands-on experience in the African business environment. Fellows learn first-hand how business is done in Africa and develop the hard and soft skills needed to achieve success on the continent.
Fellows work closely with their African colleagues, developing relationships that will last beyond their placement. As a small group, the fellows also have opportunities to build relationships with one another both during and after the fellowship.
Professional growth & impact
Fellows work on critical projects, defined in advance by the placement companies, that allow them to apply their business expertise and further refine their skills. They will be expected to report on their achievements, with a focus on measuring impact.
We are looking for innovative and driven professionals who have a deep passion for learning about business in Africa. The ideal candidate will have an MBA and/or extensive business experience. We welcome fellows from a variety of business backgrounds, such as consulting, finance, strategy, general management, marketing, and/or entrepreneurship. It is not necessary for fellows to have previous international experience, but we look for people who demonstrate a genuine interest in African business.
As part of the program, fellows will receive a living stipend, housing, health insurance, assistance with visa applications, and additional support.