Final frontier

Treading a path walked by many a Chinese enterprise before them, the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), is heading into Africa. On May 19th, in Accra, Ghana, the school kicked off its two-year executive MBA, the first stage of its “Africa Programme”, announced in early 2008. The first intake has 42 students—30 Ghanaian and 12 from neighbouring Nigeria. Nine of the students are women. The programme is headed by Kwaku Atuahene-Gima, a native Ghanaian who has been a professor of marketing at CEIBS for several years. Classes will be based on CEIBS’ Chinese programmes, but with African-specific case studies also featuring.

The inspiration for the programme comes from Pedro Nueno, CEIBS’ executive president, who has been involved in similar projects in Latin America. He believes the CEIBS model, which has proved pioneering in the tough Chinese environment, will prove effective in Africa, which he describes as “the last big opportunity left on the planet” for business schools, even in the context of the global recession. CEIBS is frank about the brand-extension qualities of the programme, if not the money-making ones.

China’s inclinations towards Africa are well-known—and with Ghana on the cusp of exploiting its oil and gas wealth, as well as offering a relatively stable model of governance by African standards, it is easy to see why a government-backed Chinese business school may want to go into Africa. Ghana’s government is also supportive—the country has a decent educational tradition, but is strapped in resource terms. And it is possible that the programme’s professed aim—to become a pan-African model for African business education and African business in general—is achievable, bearing in mind CEIBS’ success in China. Best of all, African business talents will have educational possibilities that do not require them to become expatriates—a journey which, too often, has been one-way.

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Which MBA online
The Economist’s Business Education page


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