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INTERNATIONAL TRADE


Engaging with


opportunities presented by a changing world and where ambitious people, and a creative culture, will enable us to change the world for the better. High-level goals to help realise


Africa T


he University of Nottingham’s vision is to be a university without borders, where we embrace the


sector absolutely has a role to play in alleviating poverty through market-based solutions, as well as partnering and collaborating with both state and non-state actors to contribute to the sustainable development of local communities in Africa.


this vision include cultivating a global mindset, contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, solving problems and improving lives. The continent of Africa provides


plenty of opportunities to make a measurable difference against these goals and our Business School’s Africa Strategy includes the key themes of supporting ethical and responsible business practices, non- degree training and education for executives, and enhancing commercial opportunities for those in our region. We firmly believe that while


development organisations are looking for solutions to alleviate widespread poverty, the private


APPLYING THE BASE OF THE PYRAMID CONCEPT The key business concept that underpins our thinking and activities in this space is the Base of the Pyramid (BOP) concept. It was first referenced by Franklin D Roosevelt in April 1932, a year before he became president, when he spoke about “The forgotten, the unorganised but indispensable units of economic power … the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid”. The main thesis of the BOP


concept is that poverty can be eradicated through market transactions by an external commercial organisation “that either sells goods to, or sources products from, those at the base of the pyramid in a way that helps to


The next economic powerhouse?


With a population of more than 1.3 billion people, Africa is home to seven of the top 10 fastest-growing economies in the world, according to IMF data. Effective engagement with this diverse continent is becoming a commercial imperative for businesses around the world, argue Professor David Park (pictured) and Dr Judy Muthuri (pictured), of Nottingham University Business School – which recently updated its Africa Strategy to focus more effectively on identifying and addressing opportunities and challenges on the continent for both its students and external business partners.


Africa by Numbers


1.3 billion


The culturally diverse population on the continent of Africa. Consisting of mostly young people, this is projected to double by 2050.


240 million


The estimated combined population of Lagos (Nigeria), Kinshasa (DR Congo) and Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) by 2100, when they are predicted to become the world’s three largest cities. The Global Cities Institute believes Africa will be home to 13 of the world’s largest megacities by this time.


30%


Lagos is predicted to be one of the world’s three largest megacities by 2030


56 business network December 2020/January 2021


The proportion of Africa’s population still living in extreme poverty. Despite being endowed with rich resources, it remains volatile and faces myriad problems, also including corruption and inadequate infrastructure.


improve the standard of living of the poor”. Since 2007, the BOP concept has


been researched widely with an increasing body of literature from diverse disciplinary fields including marketing, strategy, international business, general management, development studies and information technology. The concept has also been


adopted by for-profit enterprises, government bodies and not-for- profit organisations. Over the past 15 years, in particular, a variety of organisations have continued to refine the BOP concept and the key question at the moment is how the ideas and principles can support a greater conceptual shift, away from singular solutions of poverty alleviation to understanding how wider innovation ecosystems and engagement through cross-sector partnership networks can be developed.


EAST MIDLANDS COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN AFRICA This creation of an entire ecosystem is, potentially, one key area where the membership of the Chamber could, together, make a real difference through the likes of technology suppliers, financiers, capacity builders, supply chain players, open innovation expertise, distributors to the last mile and cross-sector partnerships. This is a challenge that we


embrace as a business school and we invite every Chamber member organisation to join us on this journey to create a wide, deep


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