A historic success story is happening at home and South Africans can be part of it. This was the message of business leaders to tempt homecomers to make the move at the Homecoming Africa London Expo over the weekend.
“The economic structure in Africa is undergoing a revolution. I expect you all to know this.” Such was the message from Aly Khan, CEO at Rich Management, and one of the exceptional line-up of speakers at the Homecoming Africa London Expo this weekend. The two day event at Olympia’s conference centre aimed to give Africans and South Africans the tools and information to return home.
The hard task was not in creating a compelling economic case for returning, with ‘Africa rising’ and ‘explosive growth’ proliferating headline news on Africa, but rather the emotional case. According to Homecoming Revolution founder Angel Jones, money and career rank just third in the order for reasons to return. Family and a sense of purpose were higher. So, what did the leaders from Barclays Africa, Standard Bank Group to KPMG Africa, scouting homecomer talent in the adjoining hall, have to say about these less tangible, but ‘deal breaker’ reasons for return?
Giving something back
Rob Goodenough of management consultancy Bain & Co, at the show headhunting talent to join its Johannesburg office, said moving to Africa was the ideal choice for career climbers with a conscience. “Not only are you advancing your own career, but you are making the world a better place. Africa is held back by lack of skills and infrastructure. In the UK it’s harder [to make a difference] because it’s a much more mature market; it’s been squeezed out for growth.” The figures also speak for themselves, said Jones, who said that for every skilled person who returns home, nine new jobs are created. The value of homecomers’ economic imput has also surged from US$ 8 billion in 2004 to US$ 24 billion in 2012, making a compelling case for finding a sense of purpose at home.
Quality of life
As owner of the biggest supermarket in Brixton, Dr Mabouba Diagne, now Chief Operations Officer infrastructure at Barclays Africa, was raking in £14,000 a week, selling 125 tonnes of yam every month. “I had a bank account that was piling, but I asked, does it really make you happy?”
Khan also quit his lucrative career in London working at Credit Suisse and ANZ investment Bank to return to Kenya. The charismatic speaker quoted author Nassim Taleb to describe how he felt trapped in a ‘gilded box’ working in London. “They are born, put in a box; they go home to live in a box; they study by ticking boxes; they go to what is called “work” in a box, where they sit in their cubicle box.” The fact that the famous African lifestyle converted even these six figure salary earners and did their careers no harm was a powerful argument.
Part of history
Khan said Africa was no different to China thirty years ago, or India twenty years ago. “Why would you want to be anywhere else?” Looking at the incredible increase in social media in Africa, he said there was a corresponding upswing in technical innovation. “Someone in Accra is going to sell his technology for billions,” he promised. “Africa is moving.”
Visit http://homecomingrevolution.com for more information.
Sourced: The South African