Faculty Voices | Sizwe Nxasana: The Essence of Business in the African Context

Sizwe Nxasana is the former CEO of FirstRand Limited, one of the ‘big 4’ banking groups in South Africa. Prior to that he served as the CEO of Telkom, the South African fixed-line telecommunications company. He was also the founding partner of Nkonki Sizwe Ntsaluba, one of the largest audit firms in South Africa. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce, and was awarded an honorary doctorate, from the University of Fort Hare, and a Bachelor of Accounting Science from the University of South Africa. Sizwe is also a Chartered Accountant and is deeply passionate about education.

What excites you about the ALU MBA?
I’m excited about the idea of coming up with a world-class MBA that is relevant to our continent and seeks to train and equip students with critical thinking and problem solving skills that is relevant to us but has global reach. I’m also excited about creating an MBA that can compare to any MBA you can find in the world.

Why do you think an MBA is important for African business leaders looking to make an impact, in their careers and on the continent?
It’s very important because it teaches people that come from different backgrounds the key essence of business in the African context. It will also help create a network for students both on continent and from diaspora.

People cite corruption as a barrier to doing business in Africa all the time. What other unspoken barriers are there?
There are many challenges that come up when you are doing business but I think how you look at depends on if you see the glass as half empty or half full. You’ve got things like corruption, the absence of infrastructure or necessary resources to provide just basics needs to communities. These are all barriers. But all of these problems can be solved and should be by people on the continent as opposed to solutions that have been developed for elsewhere.

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