Feb 28

Big business sets sights on repats for C-suite roles


Multinationals and big businesses across Sub-Saharan Africa have confirmed that localized C-suite talent works best on the continent.

At the recently held Deloitte Africa in 2019 Outlook Conference, Nabeel Laher, Head International Private Equity Old Mutual Alternative Investments, said, “We’ve found better success in employing executives who have ties back home in Africa.  It is far easier for them to integrate into the business.”

Vuyo Ntoi, Head of Southern and Central Africa, African Infrastructure Investment Managers, confirmed these sentiments.

Faye Tessendorf, Managing Director at Homecoming Revolution, says this is exactly what the headhunting firm has found, with employers starting to place far greater emphasis on placing highly skilled African diaspora talent into executive positions.

 “C-suite roles in Africa require broad experience but also individuals with enough on-the-ground knowledge of the region that they can fit in easily. Repats are far easier to integrate as they possess a powerful combination of international expertise, an in-depth understanding of the local business landscape and its nuances, and strong local networks and personal connections. Diaspora employees are also better placed to build lasting relationships.”

She says the significant skills gap on the continent often makes it particularly challenging for employers to find individuals possessing a specific skillset.

“This is a key reason why African employers are turning to diaspora talent. They understand business practices and cultures far better than a foreign national and can hit the ground running.”

Faye says that localized executives possess the unique insight and understanding that conducting business in Africa requires significant long-term planning.

“Doing business on the continent is all about relationships and patience. Diaspora returnees understand that things don’t necessarily happen overnight.”

She adds that diaspora professionals develop tenacity during their time working and living abroad.

“It forces you to step outside your comfort zone, which opens up opportunities to develop new skills and have new experiences.”

Faye says the main sectors for growth in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to be within the consumer market, more specifically, FMCG, manufacturing, pharma, education and financial services.

“Many of these employers are replacing foreign nationals with localized talent in order to give themselves a competitive edge. We specialize in sourcing this hard-to-find diaspora talent across the globe by tapping into our extensive global network of highly skilled African professionals.”

Find out more about Homecoming Revolution’s specialist Executive Search offerings. Contact kelsey@homecomingrevolution.com for more information.