Key Success Factors for Executive Leaders in Africa: Today & Tomorrow

A 360° Perspective

It is widely acknowledged that the talent pool at executive level in Africa is quite thin. As economic acceleration continues across the Continent, the need for more executive talent only intensifies. And, as companies continue to expand their regional footprints and scale up operations, the particular executive, capable of working across diverse cultures, geographies, and demographics, is all the more rare.

This study draws on new research to identify both the key drivers of success for current African executives and how these will evolve as Millennials take the lead.

In order to analyze the success factors of today’s leaders in Africa, our research has been carried out through qualitative interviews with CEOs across the Continent. The purpose is to identify the various elements of their education, experience, and practices, which have had the greatest influence on their ability to lead. Ranging from their academic background to their management styles and behaviors to their business strategy, the research exposes the attributes which allow African leaders to thrive.

In parallel, the study also considers the qualities and characteristics of Africa’s future leaders. Since the Continent claims the world’s youngest population, this pool of rising stars — the Millenials — will be have a significant influence on business, and this will happen sooner rather than later. Therefore, this study investigates Millenials’ leadership aspirations, management practices, and declared skillsets to have a point of comparison with those of today’s leaders. Additionally, the study goes one step further to understand Millennials’ preferences and expectations about work, business, and personal development, which will collectively shape the future of business on the Continent.

By juxtaposing these 2 viewpoints — today’s leaders and tomorrow’s — the study seeks to highlight what has forged leaders of today, and where are the potential gaps, in terms of expectations, skills and ambition, between this generation and the next. By doing so, we hope to shed light on how best to develop the talent pool that will ultimately drive Africa’s continued growth, development and success.