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For more than 30 years, ABE has continued to build management excellence across Africa

Association of Business Executives (ABE) has designed flexible, affordable and progressive business and management qualifications for over 30 years.  Founded by politicians, educationalists and businessmen in 1973, ABE today has students, members and colleges in over 70 countries worldwide.

ImageABE has an extensive presence throughout Africa, with representatives in Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

It has also funded a Chair for African Business Development, along with a Research Assistant, in conjunction with Leeds Metropolitan University. These posts are based in Africa rather than in Leeds, to underline ABE’s commitment to the continent’s development from within.

ReConnect Africa spoke to Lyndon Jones, Founder Chairman of ABE. Lyndon has over 50 years’ experience in the education sector, and even now makes several trips to Africa each year.

RCA:    What was the inspiration for setting up the ABE?

In the 1960s, I was surprised at how little management education and training was carried out both in the UK and around the world. When the British Institute of Management gave its membership by election, not examination, I felt duty bound to set up ABE so that we could build a strong base for management development.

ABE offers a variety of good courses for today’s dynamic business environment”  Natsho Tau, KPMG Botswana

My time in management education has taught me the importance of doing the right thing, rather than doing a thing right. Excellence is demonstrated by doing the right thing right.

RCA:    What is different about the qualifications that ABE offers?

ABE qualifications are not about management, they are for management. In other words, the skills that we teach our students will be used from day one in their jobs. Additionally, ABE programmes do not take students down a narrow path of business and management study. Our programmes offer students the skills to build a solid foundation in business and management, after which time they can specialise in one of our four fields – Business Administration, Business Information Systems, Travel, Tourism and Hospitality or Human Resource Management.

RCA:    Your organisation is a global one with a strong presence in Africa.  How do your qualifications reflect the different business norms that pertain around the world?

For the very reason that ABE has students and members in so many countries around the world, we have to ensure that our qualifications remain free from cultural ‘fingerprints’. Our programmes offer students skillsets that will be relevant anywhere in the world.

Doreena Sophie - Private candidate, Mauritius “I started the ABE Diploma in Business Administration in 2005, by which time I was already in full-time employment. The Business Administration course is very comprehensive and helps me lot in my day-to-day work. It also helps me to understand better my organisation and take into account human factors. My preferred subject in Diploma part one was Organisational Behaviour because my vision of the organisation has changed, as has the way I advise colleagues when they encounter difficulties. I also found the unit in Business Law very useful since much of my work is related to the making of contracts. This unit gave me a clearer understating of the technical terms being used. ABE's study materials (which are available online) often help me in better understanding the subjects and revising for exams. When I receive Student Focus, I usually go through the magazine as the examiners' study tips offer good guidance on how exams should be approached. Completing the ABE Diploma and Advanced Diploma will be my passport to a better job.”

RCA:    The current ABE President is Dr Edward de Bono, a leading authority on lateral thinking.  How have his views on management influenced the direction or strategy of ABE?

{mosimage}We know that Dr de Bono’s views on management encourage people to look at problems from a different angle. Dr de Bono stresses that thinking should be a deliberate act rather than a reactive one. In the same way, ABE programmes provide students with the skills to be proactive and clear-minded in business and management situations. On a more prosaic level, we are delighted that Dr de Bono is a contributor to our Business Executive journal

RCA:    The issue of accreditation is critical when it comes to qualifications.  What accreditation do ABE qualifications offer?

As a global provider of qualifications, ABE understands the value of quality benchmarks. ABE has accreditation from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) the UK regulator of UK qualifications. Having QCA accreditation demonstrates a commitment to upholding the highest standards, year in, year out.
But it is not just about UK recognition. ABE works closely with similar quality-focused bodies in Africa, such as the Tertiary Education Council (TEC) in Botswana, the Namibian Qualifications Authority (NQA) and the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) in Zambia, Malawi and Mauritius.

RCA: What impact do ABE qualifications make in terms of actual business and management skills in the workplace?

As mentioned already, people with ABE qualifications are ‘work-ready’. This means that they can make an impact in the workplace from day one, because they have been taught how to apply their knowledge. We have many case studies from students who tell us about their promotions (note the plural!) as a result of their ABE studies. Some people have even been promoted during their studies, such has been the impact of what they have learned.

Winston Michael Kuti-George - Banjul, The Gambia “I realised the value of my ABE qualification when I studied for a diploma for insurance managers. The units that appeared in the ABE Diploma gave me an excellent knowledge base, and the ability to handle the heavy workload of the institute. The skills that my ABE studies gave me enabled me to win several awards at the end of the insurance course. ABE has given me a sound footing for further professional development. I feel that with an ABE qualification, you can perform in any department of an organisation. It is an ideal qualification for young students looking for a career, people in industry wanting to improve their skills and employers wanting to develop their workforce.”

RCA:    Your vision is to be recognised as the qualification of choice for aspiring business professionals.  How would you measure your success to date in achieving this vision?

We can be relatively satisfied with the progress achieved so far, but the day when we think our work is done is the day when we know we have taken our eye off the ball.

Registrations have grown rapidly across Africa, even in large existing markets. We have also broken in to new markets including places where some professional bodies do not go (Somaliland).

We are committed to giving students the best opportunity to achieve their potential, and we have increased the number of universities with whom we have agreements. These agreements give our students entry to the final year of degrees in the UK, and a range of other countries including Australia, Canada, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia and the USA.

We have also taken steps to work more closely with employers. Our marketing team has been researching the employers that ABE students end up with and there are some very, very impressive ones. These have gone into our new employer guide, which shows all sizes of business the benefits ABE qualification holders can bring to them.

For further information about Association of Business Exec.

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