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Thursday, August 17, 2017

CEIBS Brings New Business Leadership Ideas to Zambia

August 17, 2017. Lusaka, Zambia – A shortage of skilled leaders is widely acknowledged as one of the bottlenecks holding back economic growth and development in Africa. In order to assist  CEOs, heads of government institutions, entrepreneurs and senior executives in developing the skills to confront this challenge, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) delivered a leadership training programme in Zambia. The four-day training which ended today was fully sponsored by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), and held at the Radisson Blu hotel Lusaka. It is one in a series of high level training programmes that CEIBS has provided in Africa in partnership with AVIC. Previous trainings were held in Accra, Lagos, Nairobi, Addis Ababa and Yaounde.

“We wanted to teach about leadership and have participants understand that leadership starts with them,” said Executive Director of the CEIBS Accra Campus, Prof. Mathew Tsamenyi. “People make mistakes in leadership because they don’t understand themselves, so it will be difficult to understand others. We hope that they will go back to their organisations and do things differently by understanding that leadership starts from within, and that they will give subordinates an opportunity to speak out.”

The institutions represented during the training included the National Council for Construction (NCC), North-Western Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NWCCI), Workers Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB), Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountancy (ZICA), Ministry of Finance, Energy Regulation Board, Zambia Airports, Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development, and the Cabinet Office.

The programme focused on the practical understanding and application of leadership principles, as well as time management, managing career transitions, personality types, networking, and leadership in context. It was led by CEIBS Associate Dean and Professor of Management Juan Antonio Fernandez, who is also Director of the CEIBS MBA Programme.

Noting that the future of Africa depends on professionals, successful businesses and entrepreneurs, Professor Fernandez said that encouraging entrepreneurial drive, and empowering people and giving them opportunities to contribute positively to the development of the continent is the way to go. “If you want to develop the country, believe in your people; give them resources they need and provide financial assistance,” he said. “In many countries it is very difficult for entrepreneurs to get financing.”

He also said that entrepreneurs should be driven by passion rather the desire to make money. “Entrepreneurs have to find their passion. It is a mistake for them to create businesses simply because they feel that others are making money from it. Such people rarely succeed,” he said.

Professor Tsamenyi noted that many entrepreneurs in Africa do business without a long-term vision. He said that many African businesses are built around individuals, and this practice needs to change. He also encouraged entrepreneurs to think globally. “When you come to Africa, it is very difficult to find businesses that have been running for two or three generations,” he said. “Most businesses collapse after the death of their founders, many of whom did not have succession plans. People rush into a business without putting the appropriate structures in place. If people have the right structures in place and also think beyond the immediate environment, then their business should not die with them.”

The NWCCI leaders who participated in the training found it very motivating. NWCCI President Josephine Makondo said it would strengthen the leadership of her organisation, and she offered to train her colleagues who did not attend. “We are taking back the knowledge acquired for the benefit of the chamber,” she said. “As leaders, it is important we undergo training so that we are able to lead ourselves and the entire organisation in a professional manner.”

Jessica Chisompola, ZICA Head of Business Development, Strategy and Communication, said the training was very relevant. She reminded leaders on the importance of being introspective before judging others. “Many leadership courses focus on the organisation as a whole. But this one focused on leaders knowing themselves personally, because your personality affects how you can make improvements and work in a team or manage one,” she explained. Ms. Chisompola believes many of the challenges organisations face, such as managers’ failure to coordinate with subordinates, can be overcome through leadership training. She said she wants to improve information sharing and coordination among ZICA staff and departments, and noted the importance of networking for effective economic development.

This was the first time that CEIBS has delivered a programme in Zambia. “Even though CEIBS Africa had been planning to come to Zambia, this visit was largely influenced by AVIC because of its strong presence and infrastructure in the country,” said Professor Tsamenyi. “We believe that we need to empower our leaders and managers in modern management theories and applications, and also networking.”  

CEIBS has already developed and delivered programmes in Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Cameroun, Nigeria and South Africa, and will continue its efforts to provide business management training to Africans across the continent. These efforts reflect Africa’s importance to China and the School’s enhanced CSR focus in its operations in Africa.

For more information about CEIBS in Africa, please visit http://www.ceibs.edu/africa

Samuel Ocloo-Dzaba & Mutinta Claver
Janine Coughlin