Established in 2012 to tackle Africa’s management capacity gap, the African Management Initiative (AMI) has secured a $750,000 investment from the Lundin Foundation and Isibindi Trust to support the next phase of its growth. A move that will see it use technology to empower African managers and entrepreneurs through practical, accessible and locally relevant learning and development tools.
The investment is in the form of convertible debt, and will provide AMI with funding to build a web and mobile platform and fund operational expenses.
In a statement, Jonathan Cook, AMI’s Chairman and Co-Founder said, “We want to develop 1 million effective and responsible African managers for Africa’s growth and development, by 2023. There is a gap that needs to be filled through accessible learning tools that embrace the digital space. This investment will help us achieve our ambitious goals to drive management excellence in Africa.”
And just days after the funding, AMI will be launching Africa’s first social learning and development platform next week and the platform’s first course, Managing Markets and Customers, will be available online for free to managers across the continent and is already open for registration at www.africanmanagers.co/2.
“Access to risk capital is no longer the primary constraint limiting SME development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Instead, it is management capacity,” said Stephen Nairne, Managing Director of the Lundin Foundation. “AMI has developed a scalable, innovative technology platform, content partnerships with leading academic institutions in the region, and a delivery model that focuses on applied learning and outcomes for managers.”
Apart from the web and mobile platforms, AMI is also offering offline Learning Lab workshops in partnership with organisations and businesses in East Africa, and will soon be expanding into West and Southern Africa. Some of the partners include Kenya’s Strathmore Business School, South Africa’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) and Nigeria’s Lagos Business School among others. AMI has already empowered over 1,000 managers in 25 countries and aims to reach 1 million managers by 2023.
“We are enthusiastic about the Isibindi Trust’s investment in AMI to bring high quality, relevant African content to African managers,” said Jennifer Oppenheimer, Co-Founder of the Trust. “We continue to be excited by the game-changing advances in interactive online technology across the educational landscape. We believe AMI’s online platform will significantly increase access for management talent to excellent management education and tools.”
AMI’s platform and content is developed with mobile in mind and for an environment where bandwidth is often constrained. Mobile is huge in Africa with IDC forecasting that the African smartphone marketwill double in volume over the next four years and account for close to a third of all handset shipments to the continent by 2017.