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London Business School Africa Business Summit Explores Opportunity

“It’s time for Africa, its time is now”

Those were the words spoken by Robbie Brozin, founder of Nando’s, the popular South African Peri-Peri chicken restaurant chain, as he closed the London Business School Africa Business Summit with his keynote speech.

Long-term commitment to dynamic African markets and flexibility in the face of short-term instabilities, political challenges and unpredictable disasters came through as powerful motifs thought the conference.

Flexibility as a key to success was a theme on a panel on entrepreneurship in Africa, where investors and entrepreneurs described various obstacles they had overcome. But for entrepreneurship panel moderator Okendo Lewis Gayle, founder and Chair of the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance, promoting African business is about building a realistic narrative, not just one of optimism.

“This is Africa, the opportunities are real as are the challenges,” he said, speaking after the panel. “The narrative often swings between optimism and pessimism. At the moment it’s very positive, but we need to be more pragmatic and be able to focus on successes so that when the pendulum begins to swing back people are able to say, ‘Yes, but look we got M-Pesa (a hugely successful LBS mobile money transfer service startup) out of this.’

“People need to be able to admit that yes, there are problems, but there are things happening as well. After all, the US is the home of Harvard, but it’s also the land of Ferguson and Hurricane Katrina.”

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