The 16th Annual Africa Business Conference - Africa Accelerates: Equipping a Vibrant African Economy

At the Africa Business Conference at the Harvard Business School, I attended three panels - two centered around entrepreneurship on the African continent and one centered on mitigating investment risks in African countries. In the first entrepreneurship panel, the esteemed panelists shared their thoughts on doing business in Africa. My biggest takeaway from this panel was a comment one of the panelists made. He said, and I paraphrase: “Many people think that the business environment in African countries is unstructured. That is not true - everything is structured. You just have to learn the structure and how it operates and you will be able to navigate and succeed there”. This statement was a refreshing response to news articles and popular belief that African countries do not have structures that enable businesses to thrive. The fact that African structures are different from Western ones does not mean that there are no structures - anyone interested in doing business in African countries simply has to master the structures present in that country.

Another highlight at the conference was the networking session at the career fair. Personally, having received an offer from Bain, it was a pleasure to meet colleagues from the Johannesburg office, where I would be working after graduation. I also took the time to meet and create networks with people from different fields with varying interest. This to me, was the crux of the program: forming bonds that can unite to make a mark on the continent and the world beyond. 

--Oladipupo Fasawe '14