How to Forge an African Partnership for African Success
As published in the July Issue of SubTel Forum Magazine
By Dixit Shah
July 21, 2022
Connectivity is the future of African success! This statement stands true in more ways than one, which makes this statement the perfect tagline for the work that Liquid Intelligent Technologies undertakes on this great continent. Not only is internet connectivity a key to unlocking future economic success, but the connections between people and businesses is even more critical. Partnerships are power in Africa, but only if it is done right.
In striving towards a future that all Africans believe is possible, it takes a certain kind of community to make that happen. The age-old strategy of building your own empire, creating a monopoly, and dominating regions are not going to cut it anymore. This is especially true when the continent wants to be recognised as a strong unit on a global stage. What African enterprises and entrepreneurs need are partners that are their strengths.
Over the years, Liquid has been involved in solidifying key partnerships spanning from America, to Europe, Asia, and across the continent – doing it all in the name of spurring on Africa’s connectivity journey. With the right partnerships, the organisation has managed to build Africa’s largest independent fibre network – connecting the Continent to the world.
To provide connectivity through metro fibres, rural fibres, cross-border fibres and more, we have had to deal with multiple countries, governments, and businesses. For this, we needed partners who are reliable, trustworthy and dependable, and most importantly, who share the same values and goals as we do.
Creating a network that connects Africa to the rest of the world allows for data to flow seamlessly and the continent can experience a connection on a level that creates untold, and sometimes unexpected, possibilities. However, the journey isn’t always a walk in the partnership park.
Like most markets around the world, Africa is driven by its own culture. The common mistake made by many first world opportunists lies in the way they treat this dynamic and unique marketplace as if it was exactly like home.
It is important to remember that each country has cultural differences, various legal requirements, different government agendas, and different states of societal development. When doing business in Africa, it is important to get familiarised with the specific country, culture and the person or business you are looking to partner with.
One of our greatest learnings as an organisation has been that the African economic landscape is ever-shifting and ever-growing and a well-informed and meticulous commercial team is vital for success.
So, what makes a good partner? If an organisation is looking to expand into Africa, good partners are critical for success. A good partner must fulfil the below list of requirements:
- What services do they offer? These need to complement your organisation’s goals.
- Are they competitive in their market? They need to be the best choice within a market segment.
- What guarantees can they offer? There will always be risks, but these need to be measured.
- Are they easy to deal with? As partnerships are relationships, organisations need to find ways to ascertain whether the relationship will be easy to maintain and then grow.
Africa is the land of opportunity, and with the right partnerships in tow, it can be the future of global economic growth and success. Yet, it is at this crucial stage in continental development that breeds competition and mistrust between partners. However, the right partnership has the potential for growth for all.
Any business looking to forge partnerships in Africa, will need to work together, finding partners who complement each other, and grow the continent together as the continent becomes increasingly ripe for international investments.
In conclusion, this Nigerian proverb sums it up beautifully – A man cannot sit down alone to plan for prosperity. This is doubly true for business. Partnerships are prosperity, power, and profit.
About the Author
Dixit Shah is Head of Operations and Operator Alliances at Liquid Dataport.