The recent unpredictability of many of the English–speaking commodity-driven economies is encouraging investors to look beyond their usual markets and the Francophone markets are showing all the signs of sure investment.
Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal are noted by think tank Brookings Institution as two of the most promising investment opportunities in Francophone West Africa, with other promising countries for economic growth potential including Togo, Benin and Morocco.
However, it is clear that many English speaking companies need guidance on how to effectively grow businesses in these locations and finding the right talent to lead their businesses has been a real challenge. Additionally, private equity investment is proving very difficult because of the linguistic biases towards English in the current investment environment. There appears to be very little support for the Francophone regions both in terms of getting access to capital in the first place and then finding the right talent to ensure ROI on that capital.
So what are Executives in Africa doing to support the needs of our clients looking to invest in expanding their businesses in Francophone Africa?
We are delighted to announce that, in addition to our Portuguese website, we are now fully trilingual online with our French website having gone live in October 2017. Our In-House Research Team includes Heba Talha-Dean, Associate, who, as a Moroccan national educated in Paris, is fully trilingual in English, French and Arabic. She has worked on many French-speaking mandates over the last year, supported by other bilingual members of our Research and Consulting Teams.
So how can this benefit our clients? This is easiest demonstrated using a recent example where we worked with a Moroccan business who has recently expanded into Francophone Africa. Traditionally, they have appointed Moroccan nationals into the Country Manager roles but they are now looking to diversify the local management team by appointing other Francophone African nationals in Morocco who, after a period in this location, will then be able to relocate to the other Francophone African businesses.
Before coming to Executives in Africa, they had tried other recruiters without success, as these firms simply could not access the African nationals they wanted. Instead, the recruiters had focussed just on Europeans who were not the right cultural fit for this business in Africa and also did not offer the client long-term succession planning for the continent.
Having previously run nearly twenty Searches across Francophone Africa within the last twelve months, Executives in Africa were able to utilise our existing networks to quickly identify, map and proactively head hunt the best talent across the Francophone regions. We were able to conduct the majority of communication in French, with key Search documentation, Contract and T&C’s provided in French at the client’s request.
The Team conducted initial screening calls and further resourcing for new recommendations in French, and then complemented this with a thorough evidential assessment in English to test their ability to work fluently in both languages. The result was a short list of five strong candidates delivered within just four weeks of instruction, all of whom were interviewed and we are hoping to come to a successful conclusion on this Search by the end of the year.
We would be delighted to talk to you about how our proprietary Search & Assessment Process enabled us to deliver results on this Search as well as other successful Searches we have recently undertaken in Togo, DRC, Algeria and Benin to name just a few. Please contact Sarah Fitzgerald, Managing Director at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a call and find out more.