What are the benefits of participating in the Africa Business Fellowship?

This is an unprecedented career-development and cultural exchange opportunity for individuals interested in gaining invaluable insight and hands-on experience in Africa’s business and investment landscape. Fellows will be placed with leading corporates and startups across the continent.  In addition to gaining unique experience and building skills, relationships and networks Fellows will also have access to some of the most influential African businesses and leaders.

How long is the Fellowship experience?

The Africa Business Fellowship is a three or six month opportunity, starting in June.

What if I can only stay for a few months due to work or school commitments?

Ideal candidates will be at natural career transition points that would enable them to live up to three or six months in Africa without significant career dislocation.  The duration of the fellowship is dependent upon the host company's needs.

Can I start in the winter or spring instead?

Because there is tremendous value in the cohort experience, combined with the exclusive retreats and seminars that are critical to this program, all Fellows will begin their placements in June.

What types of companies would I be placed in?

The Africa Leadership Network leads the company selection process. All companies will be leading firms in industries vital to the continent, and can include: financial services, telecommunications, health care, pharmaceuticals, wholesale and retail trade, and agribusiness and manufacturing firms. 

Will I be able to choose the country and/or company of placement?

We ask a number of questions in the application that will help us understand candidates’ unique interests and experiences, and we will work to make the ideal match for each individual and company. We do not guarantee that candidates will be matched based on these criteria, but we are confident in our ability to make a match that will be a tremendous experience for the Fellow.

I am not a US citizen or permanent resident.  Am I eligible?

No.  Should the criteria change, the website will be updated and announcements will be shared on the program's Twitter and Facebook platforms. 

Do I need to be from Africa?  Is there an ethnicity requirement?

No and no.  There is no ethnicity requirement.  It is not necessary for Fellows to have previous international experience, though we look for people who demonstrate a genuine interest in learning about and promoting African business and U.S.-Africa trade linkages.

Do I have to have an MBA to participate?

No, but it is preferred.  We are looking for candidates with a strong track record of early professional success and 4+ years of meaningful professional experience.  A graduate degree is not required.  We do think that the months just preceding or following a graduate program may be the ideal time for participation in this Fellowship.

Will there be any training in advance?

The program will start with a full day orientation session so Fellows can meet each other as well as discuss objectives, cultural considerations, and practical challenges and concerns related to living abroad.  Additionally, there will be an in-country orientation once Fellows arrive to help them get settled in their new location and manage cultural norms, security, etc.

Will housing be provided? 

Yes. Fellows should expect to live in furnished and serviced apartments. Fellows with families and significant others can be accommodated with advance notice. 

I expect to have a full time job secured by June. Will I have to ask my employer for a delayed start date?

We know that many companies will strongly value the unique experience that the Fellowship offers. Of course, all employers will not be able to accommodate the delayed start date. Each Fellow should work with his/her future employer to understand the feasibility of participating in this Fellowship.

What expenses will the Fellowship cover?

The Fellowship will include housing accommodation, health insurance, airfare to the host country, and return travel to the Fellows' home city. Fellows will also receive a monthly stipend of $2,000 to cover living expenses. The stipend will be paid in two installments, 50% before the Fellowship begins and 50% midway through completion. Three month Fellows will receive subsidized travel to the African Leadership Network's Annual Gathering in early November and six month Fellows will attend the Annual Gathering at no cost to them. 

What financial commitment should I expect to make in this Fellowship?

The Fellow is responsible for getting a visa (if necessary). ALN will advise each Fellow on travel logistics prior to and during the orientation session.  Once in country, ALN and peer mentors will offer guidance on how to get to work, as well as ABF retreats and other activities for the Fellows.

What is the expected size of the 2017 cohort?

The program expects to place 10 to 15 Fellows in 2017.  The inaugural 2016 class was 14.  

When can I expect to receive notification of my fellowship acceptance?

Offers will be made in early 2017, no later than March.  Candidates will have 2 weeks to accept once Fellowship offers are made.

What countries could I be placed in?

2016 Fellows were placed in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, and Zimbabwe with some Fellows undertaking short stints in South Africa and Rwanda.  The 2017 locations have yet to be determined but we expect some of the same countries and perhaps some new additions. 

How will I be matched with a company, and when will I find out my match?

On the application, prospective Fellows will select their top choices of Fellowship employers and industries; in addition, prospective employers will share information about the Fellows’ preferred profile/experience and organizational culture.  While we cannot guarantee that Fellows will be placed in their preferred firm/industry, each Fellow will be placed at an organization that will be a strong match for his/her career trajectory.

What are some of the companies into which I might be placed?

To date, Safal Group and Tendy are confirmed to participate in 2017.  We anticipate that some of our 2016 partners will accept Fellows in 2017 as well.  Our 2016 placement partners include: Atlas Mara, Dangote Foundation, Econet, GE Africa, Hotels.ng, Intex, Kuramo Capital, Liqiuid Telecom, Orbit Chemicals, Printivo, Safaricom, Thomson Reuters, and Zeleman Communications.

How can I learn more about the Fellowship?

Join our mailing list by signing up at the bottom of this page to receive more information about the Fellowship, including application deadlines, webinars, info sessions, and more.  You can also contact us via email at info@africabusinessfellowship.com

What does the application consist of?

Applications consist of basic demographic information, education and work experience, as well as leadership experience and career aspirations. Applicants will answer brief essay questions (written form and video), submit 1-2 letters of recommendations, and participate in 1-2 phone/Skype interviews if selected as a Finalist.

How will my application be evaluated?

Each application will be thoroughly reviewed and evaluated along several criteria, including alignment of career goals with the goals of the Fellowship, demonstrated leadership experience, communication skills, fit for the program, work experience, and academic history.  Finalists will be asked to participate in 1 - 2 interviews before final selections are made.

Will you consider an applicant with less experience or is 4 years a strict minimum?

All applicants will be considered. However, the ideal candidate will have 4 years of meaningful business experience and/or a graduate degree.

Do you give preference to people who've participated in MLT programs?

There is no preference for candidates who have enrolled or are currently participating in MLT programs.

What information are recommenders asked to provide?

In addition to indicating how long they have known the candidate and in what capacity, recommenders should provide insight and specific examples that speak to the candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, and leadership potential.  Recommenders should also highlight how the candidate works with peers.

What is the difference in applying Round 1 vs. Round 2? What is the benefit of applying Round 1?

We have had a higher than anticipated number of candidates start applications and a surprising number who have already completed their applications.  We will begin reviewing applications at the conclusion of Round 1. Candidates applying Round 2 will also receive full consideration. However, fewer spaces may be remaining at that time.  As such, we encourage candidates to submit the strongest application they can as soon as they can.

Where will interviews be held?

Interviews will take place via telephone or Skype. 

Is this initiative expected to be in partnership with our current employers?

Candidates entering or completing a graduate program may have greater flexibility in working with their graduate program or future employer to arrange a start date that would accommodate participation in the Fellowship.  For candidates not transitioning into or out of graduate school, some employers offer externship opportunities or other arrangements that would allow candidates to participate in the Fellowship.  We encourage candidates to use the ABF team as a resource as they begin exploring options with their graduate program and/or employer.

Is it important that candidates have a background in specific industries or functional areas in order to be matched with certain companies?

Host company placements are not restricted based on Fellows’ specific functional or industry experience. For example, a Fellow with a finance background and an interest in health care would not be limited to placement in host companies in the financial services industry.  Such a Fellow could also potentially be matched with a pharmaceutical company undertaking a strategic initiative requiring finance expertise.  All Fellows will possess highly transferable skills that enable them to contribute to a number of host companies at a high level. 

Will there be opportunities for Fellows in different countries to interact with each other during the Fellowship?

Fellows will meet at the African Leadership Network's Annual Gathering in November. Fellows can visit one another but must be mindful of their visa and work authorization requirements.