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Success in Africa: CEO Insights from a Continent on the Rise Hardcover – September 10, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As strategy consultant Berman explains in his first book, the 54 countries on the African continent contain six of the 10 fastest-growing markets in the world, and 60% of the world's future farming potential. There are more than 150 billion companies in Africa, and more than 500 with annual sales of million. Here, Berman, who has lived and worked in Asia and worked in Africa, informs readers about perspectives on Africa, who works there (including budding CEOs), and why. However, despite the book's great premise, Berman only skims the surface: Africa needs everything, and success in Africa comes from filling it. Berman touches on ways to address these needs in terms of understanding the different countries and languages, parsing out governance, creating new infrastructure in an unknown culture, dealing with government, and competing with Chinese companies that realized the African potential long ago. Berman is most effective when he identifies the massive perception problem that Africa faces, but he fails to make a convincing argument that global companies should be working harder to identify these opportunities. Despite his worthy message, the book is not helped by the author's self-conscious, awkward tone. (Sept.)

Review


"We are beginning to see Africa's moment in the sun—it has been home to some of the world's fastest growing economies over the last two decades, while extreme poverty rates have sharply declined and key health indicators have improved. In Success in Africa, some of today's most influential business leaders share their firsthand insights about working on a continent bright with shared opportunity, and explain why Africa's future is more promising than ever." —President Bill Clinton

"Africa is bigger, faster growing, more profitable and significantly more important than you'd like to admit. If you've been overlooking a $2 trillion economy, it's time to start paying attention." —Seth Godin, best-selling author of Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip, and others

"In the early 2000s, Africa’s future seemed grim. The Economist’s May 13, 2000 cover declared “Africa: The Hopeless Continent.” But over a decade later, when The Economist again devoted a feature story to the continent, the message had changed entirely to “Africa Rising.” A new book by Jonathan Berman, Success in Africa: CEO Insights from a Continent on the Rise, aims to explain how this transformation happened and what the world can expect from a now-hopeful continent. Berman profiles hard-charging African CEOs such as James Mwangi, the CEO of Kenya’s Equity Bank, which boasts nearly 8 million accounts and a market capitalization of over $1 billion; and Funke Opeke, a Nigerian businesswoman and CEO of Main One Cable who is helping wire and bring transformational high-speed, affordable Internet access to the continent. These business leaders, with their world-class skills and long-term visions, are forging new markets, driving growth, and raising both economic and political expectations along the way…Success in Africa helps change the lens through which Africa is viewed. Readers will come away with a greater appreciation for the dynamism, innovation, and economic potential of the continent." —Council on Foreign Relations

"Jonathan Berman beautifully puts the lurid popular press headlines about Africa into perspective and helps us peek behind that curtain of stereotypes with insights regarding how investors can prosper in Africa. His extensive experience on a wide range of Africa projects is dynamite. I particularly loved his human insights – the energetic resourceful ambitious Africans surmounting the enormous barriers of poor infrastructure and inefficient governments. Altogether, it's a very important book." —Mark Mobius, executive chairman, Templeton Emerging Markets

"Success in Africa is an admirable piece of cross-cutting analysis, delivering a new understanding of Africa from the viewpoint of global business leaders and the new class of rising African businessmen. Jonathan Berman brings both networks to bear on the question of what drives success in Africa, and indeed in fast growth markets worldwide. While explaining the very significant challenges of business in Africa, he also highlights how some in Africa are defining a new path to growth, one that improves on the mistakes of the past (including those of the West)." —Paul Collier, Oxford University professor, best-selling author of The Bottom Billion

"This is a not to be missed primer on not only where Africa has come from but how the future is unfolding. It will help change the skeptic’s view of Africa. Great book." —Neville Isdell, former CEO, The Coca Cola Company

“Offers a welcome perspective on Africa. What captains of industry have to say is a critical contribution. A realistic account of what it takes to run a successful business in Africa." —Brookings Institution

“Breezy…provides real insight. Berman’s interlocutors represent a new class of risk-taking businesspeople.” —Foreign Affairs
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bibliomotion (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937134466
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937134464
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #774,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Israel Drazin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
People thinking of investing in the rapidly emerging economy of Africa and those who simply want to learn more about this fascinating continent will enjoy and profit from reading this fact-filled book. Africa is comprised of fifty-four diverse states with six official languages. There are hundreds of distinct ethno linguistic and tribal groups. It is religiously diverse, with both Abrahamic and traditional faiths having significant influence. Berman describes this emerging continent in an easy to read manner. Virtually every page includes a paragraph quoting incisive encouraging yet realistic views of prominent African officials or business persons. We learn that Africa is developing as fast as India, twice the rate of Brazil. Six of the ten fastest-growing markets in the world are in Africa. Sixty percent of the world’s future farming potential is there. It is a land with an immense future potential.

Berman, who has a long history as an advisor on African affairs, describes how the end of the world-wide Cold War and colonialism affected Africa in a positive manner, making it possible for a turnabout from primitive conditions to positive development. Today, all countries in Africa, with the exception of Eritrea, hold elections and have a liberal environment that encourages human development and business opportunities. Africa is educating its population, with twenty percent of its government spending going to education. Primary school enrollment, for example, increased from 62 percent in 1999 to 76 percent in 2008. Communications have increased: between 2000 and 2006: 266 million connections were added, and today, that number has more than tripled. Yet, as Berman writes: “Africa needs everything. What an opportunity.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The subtitle is an exactly accurate description of the contents. The format is kind of like an instruction manual. The main gist is that what works elsewhere will not necessarily work in Africa, and that success in Africa requires regionally and culturally specific strategies. That alone sounds obvious and mundane, but the book moves beyond generalizations and offers many first-hand reflections from the CEOs of multinationals, almost like a collection of miniature case studies to illustrate each chapter heading. The focus is on large multinationals, but the insights are applicable to smaller-scale ambitions in Africa as well. I have given this book away twice: once in a business context, once in a non-profit context. I think it's equally valuable to any organization trying to succeed in Africa.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the more insightful works on current state and opportunity in Africa I've seen. The combination of CEO's first-hand perspectives with hard data on macro-level trends provides uniquely nuanced insight on the real challenges and opportunities in the region. The book provides tangible guidance and lessons learned from those leaders who have been on the ground, shedding light on many of the "business school fundamentals" as they apply to the African context - leadership, company culture, operations, capital, governance, partnerships, etc. A must read for any level of experience and interest in the region and its business potential.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good way of showing the potential of Africa is not limited to Natural resources and is ready to play in the field of business and Enterprise borrowing from experiences of other continents.

Though I would have preferred to hear other voices from across the continent apart from the few East Africans- Kenyans, a couple of West Africans,a few North Africans , one or two Central and Southern Africans on the African side featured, but I am sure it will be more appreciated by the American and European audience as is.

The insight on bridging the gaps that business has to play in their societies and the apparent indictment of governments lack of fully exercising their capacity was well handled and should give policy makers and business more pointers to the continued conversation for the better.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Success in Africa presents a refreshing perspective on the continued progress in Africa. The author's insights and perspectives challenge the commonly held view that Africa's only path to prosperity is through the charity of outsiders. This book is both an enjoyable read and a valuable resource for anybody interested in Africa- be it for professional or personal reasons. It should be on the reading list of every MBA student with global aspirations.
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Format: Hardcover
Berman's book, a private sector perspective on African growth and opportunity, is both a pleasure to read and highly informative. The combination of his years of personal experience and narrative with the thoughts and perspectives of some of the continent's most successful CEOs is compelling and insightful. Berman also draws on quantitative micro and macro-level data to strengthen his point that we must begin to pay attention to Africa, and that Africa growth presents enormous opportunities for the private sector. The book is a must read for anyone interested or involved in emerging markets, and it should be required reading for the entire international development community.
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