Eyes of Business Turn to Africa

Justin Mills talks recruitment in Africa
Cornerstone London Director Justin MIlls chats with Nigerian High Commissioner Ambassador George Adesola Oguntade,


Cornerstone London to Partner Sub-Saharan Trade

Many companies with global strategies have been turning their eyes on Africa recently as the new frontier for business.  Improved political environments, above average growth and the rich opportunities waiting in a continent that essentially has to start everything from scratch are predictably raising both eyebrows and interest.

Last week, our firm Cornerstone London, formally became a player with our appointment by the UK government as a preferred Search and Leadership Development Partner in a trade initiative aimed at Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

The program involves face-to-face meetings in the UK and planned trade missions supported by a high-quality database of 3,000 screened businesses in the UK and 2,000 in Africa.

It’s a stimulating mission for a search and leadership development firm, especially one that is a member of Cornerstone, a global organization with member offices in 35 countries.  Here’s why:

SSA is hardly the Wild West, but it is definitely an environment where everything gets done from scratch. This contributes to mesmerizing profit opportunities which have moved SSA from being the 8th most interesting place to invest to the 2nd, in just three years.

Mesmerizing opportunities?  Take internet-enabled mobile banking. A surge in mobile phone usage and an unbanked population of 66% in SSA are the makings of an unusually lucrative market.

Serious shortage of talent

But frontier markets obviously have downsides, including higher rates of risk than in developed countries.  Yet this is not the biggest challenge. By far the largest problem is the shortage of local talent. At the upper end, the shortage of managerial expertise creates huge competition for talent and commands salaries for managers even larger than those in developed countries.

These two issues – high levels of risk and shortage of managerial talent – create a formidable challenge for a search and leadership development firm

  • At the heart of winning against corruption is building trust, reducing risk and finding the right people to lead and deliver on the ground.
  • Overcoming the talent shortage and being able to engage the right people `out of the box` calls for deep and broad networks and the trust of high quality people willing to consider moving to a more volatile environment

This is the challenge we have taken on. It’s an exciting challenge and the signs are positive, with significant general action to improve governance and regulation and adopt institutional and business friendly measures. Ghana, for instance, recently announced that a business there can now be opened online within 48 hours.

And, of course, we’re not alone. There’s that network of trusted, market-leading colleagues in 35 countries – Cornerstone International Group.

Have a challenging global talent need? Learn more about our Executive Search services.
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