Human resource considerations for expansion into African markets
Although Africa has never been a sleeping giant awaiting to be roused by any foreign aid, 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.
In post-colonial Africa, however, African economies are reviving their growth potential and have become increasingly attractive as international investment hubs. International businesses expanding across Africa must be cognisant of some vital human resource implications to entrench their businesses sustainably. From cultural complexities, and standard legal issues that are similar around the world.
The continent is large, made up of 54 independent member states, each with its own jurisprudence and sovereign laws, there are multiple languages spoken, different ethnic backgrounds, technological advancements vary, too. Understanding the complexity of opportunities in the different markets is the first step for businesses in aligning their core organisational 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 had a blessing in disguise effect – 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. Learning from the 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.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus 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 of multinationals must therefore also adapt in accordance with the distinct environments they are targeting, their human capital’s distinct backgrounds, life station, and economic dispositions. 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 up vacancies from c-suite management to low level workers. Culture sharing environments tend to produce unparalleled results for companies gearing themselves to be future fit and aligning business objectives with social change. From this perspective, there could be no wasted challenge in the future of African economies that are proving to be the globe’s biggest investment hub.
As part of our global network and access to markets, AIMS International has introduced a webinar series that will focus on Africa, where global leaders working in Africa and the Middle East share their experiences, advice, best practices and opportunities to do business on the continent. Read more about eyeAfrica