SMES set for skills upgrade in race for Africa market opportunities

skills upgrade

SMES are set for skills upgrade in race for Africa market opportunities

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Businesses equipped with skills and knowledge on weathering unexpected shocks not only managed to survive the Covid-19 pandemic, but also thrived, recording a 35 percent median increase in revenue, a survey revealed.

This is compared to businesses which were not equipped with the skills to adapt. According to a recently conducted survey by business training organisation, African Management Institute (AMI), though the Covid-19 pandemic continued to create challenges for all businesses globally and across Africa, those that were equipped with the skills and tools for resilience were well positioned not only to survive or recover, but also to grow.

This enabled them to increase their staff to meet extra orders coming in from clients. It also allowed them to have bigger budgets for investing in additional services as well as innovation work.

“The skills needed to manage people, inspire transformation, and lead growth are far from ‘soft’ skills. Powerful professional skills are required in today’s dynamic business or organisational environments to navigate both the everyday challenges and the unexpected. We need to enable Africa’s ambitious enterprises to thrive through practical management tools and training. Practical business learning is proven to accelerate Africa’s entrepreneurial economy,” noted AMI CEO and co-founder, Rebecca Harrison.

Domestic supply chains

She added that there is also a need to sensitise local businesses on the importance of relying on domestic supply chains that are more reliable, as opposed to international ones, whose disruption by unexpected shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic or the war in Ukraine can easily result in sharp increases in price of essential inputs.

Towards this end, she noted that AMI has initiated a learning programme that seeks to equip local entrepreneurs with the knowledge and the skills needed to adapt in unfamiliar territory and survive unexpected shocks. The training is also expected to help the businesses become well-versed with trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area market.

The programme, which incorporates African-focused content and case studies based on African businesses and management experiences, will enable businesses to understand the dynamics of trade at a more continental level, therefore enabling them to make informed business decisions.

“It is time for Africa to do away with the learning methodologies of the past, not rooted in our own experiences. We need to expand our enterprise offerings to reach even more professionals and accelerate the pace at which companies working in Africa’s business ecosystem can achieve their goals and put Africa at the center for the global economy,” noted AMI Enterprise Managing Director Asha Mweru Mbowa.

In-person workshops

It will incorporate virtual and in-person workshops with on-the-job practice support accompanied by practical online and mobile learning tools with over 80 online courses as well as content in five languages, namely, English, French, Kinyarwanda, Swahili and Amharic.

The programme will also include a four to six-month flagship leadership, management and workforce performance session, as well as shorter one to two-month focused professional power skills sessions.

AMI Enterprise will compliment AMI Impact, the company’s other internal division which works alongside development partners, to deliver large-scale learning and business growth programmes to support the entrepreneurial economy.

 "The recent establishment of AMI Enterprise as a core division will allow us to scale up our support for many companies as they grow to be a force in the global economy,” noted Ms Harrison.

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