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Africa in the global economic context

Globally, 2019 could provide the strongest growth prospects seen since the global financial crisis ten years ago. In recent years, however, the global economy has been firmly entrenched in a "low growth paradigm". Following the golden era of growth in the emerging world, which came to an abrupt end circa 2015, a range of new complexities and geopolitical changes on the global stage have shaped a very different outlook to the one seen a decade ago. These complexities and uncertainties have come to define the current global order and the "new normal", which Africa is firmly part of.
Taking on this new era

The Johannesburg Business School (JBS) believes it has an important role to play in futureproofing Africa and her leaders, and is building programmes and a professional teaching staff with this specific goal in mind.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution’s scope is far beyond its digital or information counterparts. It is a systemic transformation that impacts civil society, governance structures, human identity, economics and manufacturing, while integrating human beings and machines. The underlying technologies for this shift are artificial intelligence, blockchain, nanotechnology, biotechnology, Internet of Things, cloud computing, autonomous vehicles, augmented reality and 3D printing.

JBS sees the humanities as playing a critical role in developing the creative and critical thinking that will be essential ingredients to success in Industry 4.0. At an unprecedented level, the global environment demands innovative business leaders with entrepreneurial spirit, and government officials who can lead African businesses to succeed on the continent. With our focus on providing global management thought leadership and deep African insights, JBS prepares students for that role, giving them a critical edge for success.

Bringing world-class business education to Africa

JBS, established in 2017, forms part of the College of Business and Economics at the University of Johannesburg. JBS offers innovative programmes that are expertly designed to develop effective, ethical and enterprising African leaders. These leaders are contextually intelligent, equipped to successfully navigate and overcome the complexities of today’s world, while advancing the evolution of the business environment for the benefit of organisations and society.

The school provides an interface for a business-academia ecosystem, which stimulates and informs purpose-driven business practices with a collective impact.

All programmes designed by JBS are grounded in the African context, with a strong global connection. They are geared for disruptors, entrepreneurs and corporate climbers looking to develop critical skills and their leadership abilities in the era of Industry 4.0. Development – with a direct impact on the community and increasingly part of day-to-day business in Africa – underpins what JBS represents and does. Access to business education, especially in light of the management void across the continent, will be crucial. Online and distance learning will be essential in reaching previously excluded Africans, and necessary for the desired impact on the continent. Our focus is on developing and delivering bespoke options, with a focus on depth and creativity. Like most strategies and operations in Africa, an alternative approach to the norm is not exempt from international standards. Africa needs a world-class business education with a local flavour to develop management competencies and build excellence, and this is the model and approach JBS has taken. True aspiring leaders are willing to step out of their comfort zones to challenge their existing paradigms and lead with a strong sense of self-awareness. This can only be achieved through immersive experiences that allow leaders to introspect and evolve. At JBS, we pride ourselves on providing delegates with a conducive educational experience through facilitated discussions across a multi-disciplinary network of leaders. It is a space where mistakes are allowed, lessons are learned and progression takes place. JBS aims to support all leaders on their journeys.

JBS’s offering includes undergraduate diplomas and degrees, postgraduate degrees and programmes, and will soon include a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree. On the cards are also online programmes, blended learning and unique contact programmes with delegates from across the continent and partners from around the world.

JBS as a disruptor in the executive education category has two goals: Designing programmes to match the demand of an emerging market, and reshaping existing programmes to meet the demand of customers as their needs evolve.

As a late entrant to the business school market, JBS will be agile and adaptable in order to stay relevant and take advantage of the disrupted higher education environment by offering business skills for disruptors. Conventional approaches and standard business acumen do not work. Preparing individuals and organisations for this context requires programmes with a difference, which is why we’re including an MBA with a difference in our offering going forward.

Published in Finweek, 18 January 2019.

About the author

Professor Lyal White is senior director of the Johannesburg Business School.

Johannesburg Business School's press office

Johannesburg Business School
The Johannesburg Business School (JBS), established in 2017 as one of Africa's largest business schools, forms part of the College of Business and Economics at the University of Johannesburg.