Half of the 70 percent of students that plan to return aim to start their own business, according to the survey, which was carried out by Jacana Partners, a pan-African private equity firm.
The growth in consumer spending on the continent was singled out by 89 percent of African respondents as one of the greatest opportunities in Africa.
The survey results are a “welcome indication that the majority of talented young Africans from among the MBA diaspora will be returning to Africa post-graduation”, Simon Merchant, chief executive officer at Jacana, said in a statement.
“Small businesses are the key engines of economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation in Africa and management talent is a critical component for SME success. By combining strong management teams with increasing access to value-add private equity capital, we can harness the potential of the returning MBA diaspora to build successful businesses, create jobs and support long-term economic growth,” Merchant said.
By combining strong management teams with increasing access to value-add private equity capital, we can harness the potential of the returning MBA diaspora to build successful businesses, create jobs and support long-term economic growth.
Some big private equity firms have been expanding their investment activities on the continent. The Carlyle Group recently made its first investment from its new sub-Saharan fund in ETG, a Tanzanian-based business. But as the market continues to develop, finding good quality management teams remains a challenge, industry players told Private Equity International in November. “It is a very consistent message across most GPs,” Roddy McKean, head of the Africa practice at Webber Wentzel, said at the time.
While an increasing number of experienced people from the US and Europe with an African background are returning to the continent to take up managerial roles, there aren’t enough of them to make a huge difference, according to McKean.
Lack of certain skills remains a problem in Africa and education is not a quick fix, Mark Ransford, director for West Africa at Actis, told PEI in November. “If you are educating 10-year-olds today, they only become economically productive in their early twenties, and senior managers in companies in their mid-forties. So education today yields very strong results, but only in 30 years time.”