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CEIBS’ CSR Efforts in Africa

Volumes 1 & 2, 2018

By  Charmaine N Clarke and Samuel Ocloo-Dzaba

 

Through a combination of scholarships, subsidised training courses and community-focused events by students and alumni, CEIBS has consistently been a socially responsible player in Africa. More than 20 business leaders have received scholarships to complete the Global EMBA (GEMBA) programme, there are three scholarships now available for the MBA, and more than 400 individuals have benefited from the school’s partnership with Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to provide training for corporate executives and political leaders. The younger generation have not been left out. For the past two years, CEIBS has provided support to high-school teams participating in the la Caixa Foundation entrepreneurship competition. Read on for excerpts of these initiatives and more:

GEMBA Scholarship

“The CEIBS GEMBA scholarship for African students didn't only give me an opportunity to start my Executive MBA in 2016, but it enabled me to think globally and act locally,” says Michael Onuorah, Technical Director of BVC Consulting Ltd. The Nigerian national had longed to do an EMBA since 2010 but put his decision on hold because of financial constraints. Then he heard about the CEIBS scholarship which covers half of the programme fee. “It’s a programme that I strongly recommend for every entrepreneur and business executive who has an eye specifically on doing business in or with China and also the rest of the world,” he says. There were 13 GEMBA scholarships offered in 2016 and 11 in 2017.

 

Training for Corporate Executives & Business Leaders

In 2016 CEIBS held high-level training programmes for senior executives in four locations across Africa: Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Lagos and Accra. In 2017, the trainings were held in Lusaka, Accra, Yaonde and Nairobi. Topics covered included Accounting for Decision Making, the Economic Environment, Leadership and Strategic Management. One of those impressed by the Lagos event was Mike Ogbalu III, Divisional CEO for Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services. “They say seeing the big picture makes all the difference, but it is the little things that make up the big picture,” he says. “Professor [Bala] Ramasamy was able to build the big picture from small, everyday issues in such a unique way; it took the whole class on an exciting discovery of the world of economics. He also opened up Asia, and the world at large, in a way that provoked a new way of thinking.” 

 

Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership for Africa (WELA)

CEIBS has specifically developed the WELA programme to support African women entrepreneurs. Since its initial launch 6 years ago in Ghana the programme is now offered in Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa – covering the west, north and south of the continent. The programme is subsidised by CEIBS as a way of encouraging more women to enjoy the benefits that it offers. One very popular aspect of WELA is the Shanghai module. In 2017, Stella Asiedu was among the phenomenal women who brightened up the school’s Shanghai campus with their colourful outfits and wide smiles. Faced with the task of being CEO of the real estate company her father founded, she turned to WELA for the tools she needs to succeed. “There are about 1.7 million people in Ghana who do not have access to adequate accommodations. So you can imagine where they live. You have make-shift houses, people live in shipping containers because they can’t afford a home,” she explained then. “So the question is, how can you have an affordable building where everybody can afford to have a decent place? What I have learnt from WELA is that it’s all about touching lives, and that’s what I’m passionate about.”

To date, about 160 women have participated in WELA and the numbers are expected to grow rapidly because of CEIBS’ partnership with ESCA Ecole de Management. In January 2018, in a collaboration that was the first of its kind in Morocco, CEIBS began offering WELA in Casablanca.

 

Training Traditional Leaders

Even the wisest of Africa chiefs can benefit from a few days in a CEIBS classroom. As part of an effort to enhance the leadership skills of traditional leaders tasked with moving their communities forward, CEIBS rolled out a training programme in the Ashanti Region of Ghana in 2013. By March that year, the second module was held in Kumasi, the regional capital. The course on Service Management and Leadership for Traditional Authorities, offered in partnership with the Osei Tutu II Centre for Executive Education and Research (OTCEER), focused on ICT and Land Administration. Thirty chiefs participated. As CEIBS Africa Executive Director Professor Mathew Tsamenyi explains, “What we’re hoping for is to have different roles for traditional institutions as partners in development and we’ll be able to transform areas without necessarily relying on international donors or the government to come and do it for them.”

 

MBA and Pre-MBA Bootcamp Scholarships

This July, one of the participants in the five-day Pre-MBA Bootcamp will be Mami Araba Kwenua Amuah. She secured her seat thanks to a 50% scholarship from CEIBS. This is the second year in a row this scholarship has been provided for an individual from Africa to do a test drive of the school’s MBA programme. Last year, Nana Akosua Adjoo Mintah joined. Meanwhile three scholarship students from Africa have successfully enrolled in the 18-month CEIBS MBA to date. 

 

la Caixa Foundation Entrepreneurship Competition

The competition introduces young Africans to the essentials of entrepreneurship, an important step in promoting their social and economic wellbeing. It was a natural fit for CEIBS to get involved and provide support to high-school students who have the daunting but exciting task of representing Africa in the contest. This year, a group of bright youngsters from Tema International School will make the trip to Barcelona. Last year it was Merton International School from Accra.  Kwabena Somua Nyarko, a tutor at Merton who accompanied the students to the event, says the competition exposed them to new ideas. “CEIBS has done really well to have sponsored us for this competition,” he says. “It was good training in innovation and entrepreneurship for both the students and teachers, and a great opportunity for the students to learn about team spirit and working cooperatively. It has been an eye opener for us and we are grateful.”

 

Student & Alumni CSR Efforts

Taking their lead from the school leadership, CEIBS students and alumni have made CSR an integral part of their efforts in Africa over the years as well. On March 3 this year, the GEMBA 2017 Zurich cohort took time away from their studies to visit the Pantang Hospital in Accra and donate GHS10,000 worth of goods for patients’ daily needs. “It is fulfilling for us to be here today,” said Class President Victor Ugorji during the event. “Our school takes us all over the world and we should be able to give back to humanity wherever we go; this hospital is what we have chosen. The entire class believes in what we are doing and wants to support it. For sure this is not the last time you are going to hear from us.” 

In May 2017, CEIBS Alumni Association Ghana Chapter fully funded eye surgery for six-year-old Emmanuel Frimpong who was diagnosed with Bilateral Conjunctival Papillomata. The Chapter offered to help after Emmanuel’s story went viral on social media. It raised GHS10,000 to cover the cost of his medical bills and support his mother in starting a business. Today, little Emmanuel has fully recovered and has gone back to school.

The Africa EMBA programme also encouraged students to take on a CSR project during their studies, and includes components on social responsibility and responsible leadership. Here are some examples:

  • 2016: The Class of 2015 renovated the Roman Catholic Mission Primary School at Odomola-Epe in Nigeria.
  • 2015: The Class of 2014 provided water and water tanks to Dzorwulu Special School.
  • 2014: The Class of 2013 renovated the airport police station in Accra, which included providing new air conditioners and television sets.
  • 2013: The Class of 2012 completely furnished the computer lab at the Agindingbi Grammar School in Lagos and also donated computers, printers, tables and chairs to the school.
  • 2011: The Class of 2010 renovated a section of Ridge Hospital as a memorial to their fallen colleague David Foster-Forson.
  • 2010: The Class of 2009 built a Library and Learning Centre for the Korle-Bu Experimental Primary School in Accra and named it after CEIBS President (European), Professor Pedro Nueno. The facility is open to the communities around Korle-Bu.