Op-Ed: If Africa wants sustainable growth it needs localisation

By YPO Africa Member, Vishal Agarwal, Senior Leader, ex-PwC & GE Africa. Driving Infrastructure Outcomes in SSA.

Summed up, localisation to me means: having a global mindset with a local heart. True economic growth isn’t achieved by superficially working towards localisation.

Localisation is critical for businesses wanting to achieve sustainable growth in Africa. Yet, when we talk about localisation we must be careful not to approach it superficially, as I mention in my interview below and in this article.

One might look for examples of localisation in contexts such as black economic empowerment like in South Africa, achieving quotas set by affirmative action. There’s also an understanding of a type of localisation that seeks to appease the political class in a particular country. Not to take anything away from those approaches but to copy them (in other African contexts) may be missing the point.

An all-rounded and whole-hearted approach must be taken. Only when companies see localisation as efforts to making local strategic partnerships, or investing and empowering locally, are we creating a runway for sustainable growth.

Hire local, partner local, and empower local!

Today, having a representative on the ground as a company, but having three layers of bosses sitting in headquarters far away is something that customers, suppliers and talent can see through. For a company to genuinely contribute towards localisation it must understand the local business ecosystem. The majority of the hands in a company need to be on the ground for effective decision making to happen.

Likewise, localisation must involve investing in the supply chain on the ground. This means that it not only falls on governments to invest in local infrastructure; but the private sector as well. There’s a lot more work that needs to go in from both parties in terms of will and intention.

CEOs have pressure to achieve company growth, but there’s only so much success they can enjoy in an environment with structural inefficiencies. To be on the ground also means that companies must collaborate and learn from customers, while at the same time empowering and investing in native talent.

Doing all this creates the next generation of customers and supply chain, and for foreign companies to find the balance between investing in the next generation and the now, is vitally important for their own sustainable success.


Related Content

Nigeria removes fuel price cap

Nigeria’s Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency has removed the cap on the price of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, giving marketers the freedom to fix the price of the commodity and sell above the price stipulated by the body.

The social and economic toll of COVID-19 on Nigerian households

The National Bureau of Statistics says the experience of economic shocks in the few months after the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria has far exceeded the shocks experienced between 2017 and 2019. In its COVID-19 monitoring report released today, the bureau noted that the most widely reported shock experienced by households was an increase in prices of major food items. Meanwhile, OPEC and its allies will meet on Saturday to discuss extending record oil production cuts and to approve a new approach that aims to force laggards to comply better with the existing curbs. Bismarck Rewane, CEO of Financial Derivatives joins CNBC Africa for more.

Unpacking Nigeria’s COVID-19 strategy

With over 11,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, Nigeria has continued with plans to ease its COVID-19 restrictions. The latest being the move to lift the restrictions in interstate travel as well as domestic Air travel from the 21st of this month. Kyari Bukar, Former Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group joins CNBC Africa to assess Nigeria’s COVID-19 strategy in amid rising cases.

NAICOM extends insurance recapitalisation deadline to September 2021

Nigeria's insurance regulator NAICOM has extended the deadline for the recapitalisation of insurance companies to September 2021. The recapitalisation process has also been segmented into two phases. Tajudeen Ibrahim, vice-President and Head of Research at Chapel Hill Denham joins CNBC Africa for more.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

Markets rebound on U.S. job numbers

Joining CNBC Africa for a look at the local markets is Dale Hutcheson, Fund Manager, Absa Asset Management....

COVID-19: Rwanda opens most sectors of the economy

In Rwanda, the country has recorded two death from Covid-19, at a time when the Government has eased the lock-down that had been in place for a month and half by opening up almost all sectors of the economy though with a number of precautionary measures to keep the virus in check. At the same time a French court ordered the Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga to be handed over to a United Nations tribunal for trial. Hudson Kuteesa, Journalist with the Newtimes joins CNBC Africa for more....

AfDB Governors back ethics committee agrees to authorise independent review

The Bureau of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank has agreed to authorize an independent review of the report of the Ethics Committee of the boards of directors. The Bureau notes that it stands by the ethics committee's work as it was performed in accordance with the applicable rule under its resolutions. Ronnie Ntuli, Chairman of Thelo DB joins CNBC Africa for more.

Nigeria removes fuel price cap

Nigeria’s Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency has removed the cap on the price of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, giving marketers the freedom to fix the price of the commodity and sell above the price stipulated by the body.

Partner Content


FROM THE MAYOR’S DESK Halfway through the month of May, we had fruitful engagements...

Sanlam Emerging Markets and its partners on the African continent invest over $12 million to fight COVID-19

As we go through this global pandemic together, it is the little things we miss. A high five, a handshake, a walk...

Trending Now

How Pro Sports Leagues Plan To Return

When NBA star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus in early March, it set off a chain reaction of professional sports cancellations, the likes of which the country has never seen. Now, three months later, sports are slowly beginning to com

How SA businesses are dealing with financial stress of COVID-19

Most South African companies expect profits to be hit by coronavirus and the carnage the virus will bring to the economy. The degree of stress to the balance sheet however will depend on the overall industry, liquidity and management risk. Joining CNBC Africa to dissect which bottom lines will be most infected by Covid-19 is Phibion Makuwerere, Analyst at Intellidex.

Stonebwoy lends his voice in the fight against COVID-19 & racism

This week the world was united in the fight against two pandemics – the coronavirus and racism. The latter was triggered by the recent death of George Floyd, the latest victim of police brutality in the US, which triggered mass protests against discrimination. One of the individuals that took a stand against both pandemics is internationally acclaimed Ghanian musician Stonebwoy. He put on a show, from his home, to shine the light on Covid-19 and racism, raising money to support homeless youth in Ghana.
- Advertisement -