Africa: High Risk and High Reward

Sarah Fister Gale

Executive Summary:

The business world has long eyed Africa, but many companies have also been put off by its poor infrastructure and massive poverty. Now backed by vast natural resources and a surging youth population, the continent is on the verge of living up to its great economic potential. Yet project management success in Africa requires conquering a host of obstacles including political upheaval, limited local talent, and personal safety issues. This article examines how investors looking for projects with strong value propositions will find tremendous opportunities in Africa. It also overviews the issues with the infrastructure. It identifies why many infrastructure projects fail, including lack of proper risk assessment; poor stakeholder engagement; deteriorating infrastructure; and poor reporting and communication. It explains how managing the actual cash flow can be a logistical nightmare, and the importance of project managers being able to predict cash-flow needs several months in advance. Then the article discusses the lack of local project talent. It cites how foreign organizations import their own workers, which causes strained relationships with the local community. The article then explains the benefits of hiring local talent will cause foreign project owners to succeed. It helps by building better community relationships and decreasing expenses. Hiring …

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