Today the management market is changing, but that does not mean that it is experiencing a decline. However, it is becoming increasingly well known around the world and that is why ACTISS created its subsidiary ACTISS AFRICA in 2016, headed by Ambroise Baroan (Partner, HEC graduate). The goal is to support African companies to evolve in line with current society and enable them to become fully efficient.

On Gilles Marque: coming from the great professional world of Financial Management, Gilles Marque has now been at the head of ACTISS for more than twelve years. Anxious to help companies, he leads a relentless fight through interim management in order to get them out of the impasse and help them develop. A graduate of the Reims Management School, but from a first training in letters, Gilles makes his knowledge available to French and international business leaders.

A dispersed economy

Africa is not a country, it is a huge continent. But economically there is a great disparity between regions. It is possible to identify pockets of economic prosperity in Bidjan, Dakar, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg… Africa in 2017 also involves political and economic risks. Military movements of rebellion or violent political instability take place in Niger, northern Mali, Rwanda, Nigeria…

And everywhere, unfortunately, there is talk of a hidden or parallel economy. But the demand for middle management is very strong. Between an elite made up of executives often graduates from the best American or European schools and universities, and an immense workforce, the shortage of level N-1 executives -DHR, commercial director, DAF, Supply Chain bosses, etc. – is obvious. So much so that local businesses are in demand for such profiles. And the interim management mission often has the ultimate goal of transferring skills to the benefit of local teams.

A strong potential

Despite these shortcomings, the continent’s economic take-off is obvious. Côte d’Ivoire has announced an increase in its GDP of almost 10% per year for the past four years. Angola, Ethiopia, not to mention South Africa, are the champions of growth. Certainly the fruits of this growth are not yet distributed in a completely satisfactory way, but it is still much better than having no growth at all. The business fabric, especially in West Africa, is made up of three main groups. The large companies, generally of foreign origin, manage the infrastructures, the “Oil-Gas”, the modern distribution. We find in this group more and more Chinese, Singaporean, Japanese, American, Moroccan groups… and sometimes, even, French ones.

There are also large companies of African origin. Mainly in banking, telecommunications, agriculture. Telecommunications, it is known, are mainly developed in Africa, ultimately much more than in Europe. In Africa, the mobile phone is the new universal tool – telephone, bank, cinema, sport, doctor… – which allows communication with the whole world. More surprisingly, we are witnessing the strong development of local, dynamic, family SMEs, often with a charismatic creator at the head. One can usefully read on this subject the book of Jean-Michel Severino and Jérémy Hajdenberg: Enterprising Africa.

A real encouraging solution

Transition management is, it will not surprise anyone, still very little known or widespread in Africa. Our first contacts are very encouraging, the concept catches the attention of SMEs as well as large companies, because it represents a new, original mode, which seems particularly effective for introducing management into the company. But whoever says management says facilitated and possible development. And the thirst for development of African companies is truly impressive.

Moreover, interim management in Africa is seen as a real development and structuring solution, unlike what it has become in France, a classic interim management offer. It is true that the ambitions in Africa are of a completely different magnitude. So much so that the companies that entrust us with assignments in Africa expect us to help them significantly develop their activities. And they trust us to put the managers in place.

Regarding interim managers, Actiss defends the idea of developing a pool of local managers. Or more precisely, it is the leaders of the diaspora who seem to us to be best placed to carry out missions. Indeed, European or American university graduates, with a first part of their professional career in the USA or France. They wish to return “to the country”. They can combine their intimate knowledge of local management habits with the most advanced management requirements. These are all the reasons that prompted Actiss to set up in Abidjan and Dakar at the start of 2016.

(Also find out : why interim manager is a profession in the era of time)