Choosing a partner
April 4, 2017

Africa, country or continent?

Freetown, Sierra Leone - June 8, 2013: at the harbor a carrier with his smile

Why people insist on stereotyping Africa as an homogenous whole.

By Sylvain Fey-Ronc

This may appear to be an unbelievably silly question, since Africa is obviously a continent.

That being said, Africa is still often referred to in the media and in business as a single country, rather than a continent compartmentalised into diverse countries and sometimes contradicting and cultures.

There’s a tendency to associate every issue and nuanced dynamic experienced in only one country with the rest of the continent – an easy, and all too unfortunate shortcut that has far reaching repercussions.

A direct result of such presumptuous conclusions can be business failure. A poor understanding of the continent’s diversities will result in addressing various African markets without the foresight needed to clearly analyse a specific country on its own merits.

Every country has its own dynamics, its own constraints, and its own opportunities. Meaning that for each country, you will need to understand its history, its culture, its socio-economic environment, and ultimately, its ways of doing business.

However, with intercultural diversities stated, it should be noted that there do indeed exist a certain amount of shared regional characteristics. The idea here is to find the factors of ‘replicability’ that will bring success to building a robust African strategy.

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