Managing the Responsible Business Challenge in Africa: A Strategic Programme by IBM, GSK, Unilever & ABIS

Managing the Responsible Business Challenge in Africa: A Strategic Programme by IBM, GSK, Unilever & ABIS

Booming Africa

African business is booming. The continent’s flourishing economies show the strength of entrepreneurship, innovation and talent. But how do we ensure that this growth is responsible, that the talent is prepared for leadership and the continent makes progress towards market stability and sustainable development?

Integrated Sustainability In African Contexts

Business–academic collaboration is needed to identify and develop cross-cutting competencies in general management and in leadership teams, which facilitate integrated sustainability in different African contexts. This requires sustained efforts to empower and equip faculty within African business schools and universities with the content, skills and networks that they may require in designing effective leadership development programs with a focus on sustainability and ethics.

ABIS Business-Academic Platform 2014-2015

ABIS as a global network of businesses and academic institutions has developed a new platform that aims to support responsible management education and leadership development in Africa, which mirrors the purpose and model for its own creation in 2001-2002.

New approaches to curriculum design and faculty development were therefore key priorities in the initial phases of the project in 2014. In a second phase, which started in 2015, a series of management development workshops were rolled out across Africa, enabling faculty to pilot and refine training & learning innovations with middle and senior managers and executives. This collaborative platform will ultimately contribute to the enhanced stability and development of markets, enterprises and communities.

The significant knowledge and network opportunities created by ABIS in its first decade place the global network at a special advantage. Additionally, this platform allows ABIS to learn from African approaches to sustainability and good governance that it will present to its global network of over 130 companies, academic institutions and affiliate networks.

Objectives Of The Platform

  1. To share current best practice models for leadership and management development in ethics and sustainability
  2. Design and deliver new innovations in management at business schools as part of executive education offerings and through in-company workshops
  3. Develop faculty to support the delivery of responsible management education and leadership education for sustainability

Launch Of The Platform

The first phase of the programme was initiated with a launch of the platform on 19 May 2014 at the Annual Conference of the Association of African Business Schools, Nairobi. ABIS delivered high-level strategic discussion workshops and roundtables.

Curriculum Development Workshops

For the second phase, ABIS coordinated a curriculum development and faculty development workshop in September 2014 hosted by University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. By harnessing the insights from the discussions in May, and collecting best practices both within Africa and within the ABIS network, a gap analysis was conducted and additional content and delivery methods contemplated.

Members And Affiliates Involved

ABIS has found a worthy sponsor in IBM, also a founding ABIS Partner, which has invested significant resources in the continent, for instance, a research lab to “create solutions in Africa, for Africa and the world”.

ABIS Corporate Partners Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Shell co-sponsored the first phase of the Programme.

The African Association of Business School is a key strategic affiliate for its outreach among business schools across Africa.


Antonino Mangano

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Antonino Mangano