India is one of the fastest growing economies and everybody’s friend when it comes to doing business. Just recently, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi visited our country at the invite of President Uhuru Kenyatta. However, his visit was not just a courtesy visit but also a business visit.
The current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi flew in with a host of business executives from his country who held bilateral talks with Kenya’s business community. The visit shows that India is a key trading partner, which explains why most African governments are going east rather than west.
A Small Glimpse of India
India is the second most populous country after China in the whole world and has an almost similar governance structure as Kenya. The country has 20 states and seven unions. The states are equivalent to the Kenyan counties and are headed by a Chief Minister, who is equivalent to a governor. The Current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi is a former Chief Minister of Gujarat State.
The current population of India stands at 1.276 billion people as at 2015. India’s GDP growth rate stands at 7.336% as compared to Kenya’s 5.592%. In monetary value, India’s economy stands at $2, 090.71 billion while Kenya’s GDP stands at $61.405 billion. The two economies are far much apart with Kenya trying to catch up with the economic giant.
- Indian has the 2nd highest population in the world which stands at 1.276 billion people.
- India has 20 states each headed by a Chief Minister.
- India’s GDP growth rate stands at 7.336%.
- India’s GDP in money value stands at 2, 090.71 US billions.
India’s Investment in Africa
Almost all countries in Africa has a trace of Indian investments on their soil. First, Indian Businessmen have strategically positioned themselves in these developing economies and they runs some of the most successful businesses. Apart from that, India as a country has substantive investments in Africa that range from solar power, nuclear energy, mining, oil production, construction, etc.
In Kenya, Indians use a somehow complicated model where their businesses don’t collapse like other startups. Rather, the businesses are passed over the family. In many Indian-run businesses, you will find older generation running the business alongside a younger generation. This way, they ensure the business continues to run efficiently even in the absence of the founders. The practice is now being replicated in some African businesses.
Lessons we can learn from Indians
Lesson I: Public policy reform to unleash entrepreneurial potential of individuals.
Some of the African public laws do not favour entrepreneurship. An example, South Africans are banned from doing roadside vending as a way of keeping the country clean. The law hinders residents from developing useful skills that will transform them to big entrepreneurs.
Development of a skill ladder will allow people to bridge the gap between creativity and self-select from road-side selling, to the stall, to the workshop then to establishing SME’s. Therefore, enacting supportive laws will enable local markets to thrive.
Lesson II: Undertake trials on farms with affordable technologies.
India is known for its low cost of production and affordable technologies. African countries are prone to drought and hunger, resulting in death due to lack of food despite the large tracts of land. Africans should learn from India’s agricultural techniques that are low cost and use of affordable technologies. Researchers should also be empowered to conduct research on advanced agricultural techniques.
Lesson III: Students should be encouraged to be innovative.
In India, children deep in the villages are taught to be innovative at an early age. School going children are taught a variety of business skills starting when they are young through advanced stages of school. That way, they are equipped with useful survival skills that motivate them to get into business at an early age. Similarly, students in Kenya and Africa in general should be encouraged to be innovative and taught life survival skills that will reduce the high unemployment rates.
Lesson IV: Mentor young kids.
When Indian business men feel that old age is knocking so fast, they mentor the sons and daughters by teaching them the ways of doing business. They teach them the tricks, ways of handling customers and good customer relationship aspects. Every time the kids are on vacation, they get involved in day to day running of the business. When they are mature enough, they are let to run the businesses on themselves, therefore building self confidence in managing a business.
Indians are basically entrepreneurial and this trait is learnt, not in-born. Therefore, we should learn from how they run their enterprises to ensure even students gain practical business skills away from the classroom. And with the recent visit of Indian PM Narendra Modi, I look forward to better ways of doing business.