African countries have arguably been considered, many a times, to be inimical to the involvement of the International community in most of its affairs. Whether this is a fact or not, one thing is for sure, with the direction the world is heading, or better yet, the size it is becoming, international integration is inevitable as pointed out by the former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who noted that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.
With this integration, there has been massive sharing of information and knowledge between different peoples and cultures, and this has in turn led to innovation and development in various sectors. In the Management Education sector in Africa, for example, there has been increased international Business-academic collaboration which has brought about growth in both the business and academic sectors. Such integration was witnessed recently at the Association of African Business Schools (AABS) Connect Annual Conference 2014, held at the Strathmore Business School (SBS). Organisations like The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); The Academy of Business in Society, (ABIS) and The Global Business School Network (GBSN), are but only examples of international organisations that have taken the front line in advancing this cooperation of various nations with respect to business and academics.
The role of such organisations cannot be downplayed. Apart from building a network between schools and countries, such organisations seek to foster innovation globally as well as in Africa by encouraging our business schools to produce innovators, those who come up with new ideas or introduce into reality something better than before, instead of only problem solvers who work on finding solutions to existing problems. This can be done through ensuring that the curriculum in such schools is reasonably skewed towards creativity and ingenuity through the process of accreditation, which, as explained by Dan le Chair: Executive Vice President and COO of AACSB, ensures that the graduates released into the society have the requisite skills in this ever-changing world we occupy.
An equally important role played by international organisations in advancing management education is increasing research and making it available and accessible to the relevant parties. Joris-Johann Lenssen: Managing Director, ABIS, Belgium, elaborated that through research, there can be knowledge creation that can be picked up by companies and be brought into practise so as to help businesses to deal with the challenges of businesses. This will also enable global companies to understand the African context and to respond accordingly.
Sharing our experiences as a nation and as a continent promises to accelerate the growth and progress of management education and our interaction with international organisations seems to be the answer to the question that haunts many in Africa-one that was posed by Dr. Enase Okonedo, dean of Lagos Business School, Nigeria-Where will we find the skilled management talent that it needs to generate prosperity?
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