Building Business Relationships in West Africa: An Intercultural Roadmap
Duration of the course
- West Africa to date – historical and cultural dynamics which have shaped this region until the present time
In this section we will take an overview of West African cultures and societies: their
history, religions, languages, beliefs and customs.
By the end of this section, you will know how these factors interplay and will be able
to read through the complexity of a region made up of 15 countries, hundreds of
ethnic groups and local languages.
- Doom and rise of West Africa today – current socio-economic and cultural factors in doing business in the region
“The Middle class, technology, entrepreneurship, women empowerment”: in this
section we will explore how these trends shape the business environment in West
Africa. Using practical examples to illustrate these macro trends, we will look at the
factors that have shifted the narrative from “Africa, the doomed continent” to “Africa
- Bridging the Cultural Gap: how cultural dimensions influence business practices
In this section, we will look at the cultural challenges faced by foreign companies and
people working in or with West Africa and how to overcome them. Hierarchy, time
management, negotiation, personal relations will be at the center stage.
This section involves case studies and a high level of group participation based on
your own interrogations and experiences.
- Going beyond: West Africa and its place in a globalized world
Beyond geographical and cultural boundaries, West Africa is making its mark on
global scale. “Nollywood”, the Nigerian Bollywood, immigration and the African
diaspora abroad, literature, fashion, cuisine; these are just some of the ways West
Africa is shaping its place in the globalized world we live in.
This section will provide you with an extended vision of West Africa’s presence in the
world as well as a selection of resources (books, events, platforms) that will allow to
pursue your intercultural journey beyond this course.
- To develop a balanced vision of West Africa, away from the clichés shared by Western media.
- To learn how to approach West African culture and people through the prism of intercultural concepts
- To understand West Africa specific cultural dimensions and how they apply in the business and the
- In-class exercises/games
- Case studies
About the Instructors
Jean David Kouassigan
I am a business developer and intercultural trainer. Leaning on two decades of “North-South” experience,
I develop and implement expansion plans and training programs for-profit and non-profit organizations
operating in Africa. My clients include international NGOs such as Worldreader and Sos Sahel and
multinational companies such as Roca and LaLiga Santander.
I hold a B.A. in Spanish / Russian from Lawrence University (Wisconsin), an M.A. in Technical
Translation from the University of Westminster (London), and a Postgraduate Diploma in African Studies
and Development from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona).
Beyond academics, my intercultural experience stems from having been raised by Franco-Malian
mother, a Togolese father and grew up between Benin, Senegal, Switzerland, the US and the UK
before returning to West Africa (Ivory Coast) in my adult years. Based in Spain since 2005 – my ninth
country of residence – I continue to establish business ties and intercultural understanding between
Europe and Africa.
Jane Obioma Okoro
A seasoned professional in Intercultural competence, Diversity and
Inclusion management as well as Change Management. With over 14 years of experience in
training and consultancy projects in multiple sectors, including private and Non-Profit sectors,
where she works with business leaders to improve communication, intercultural competence
and change management strategies. As such, she provides executive training to companies
such as OHL Group or Airbus to name a few.
Jane holds a BA in Business Administration and Management from EU Business School
(Barcelona), a certificate in Intercultural Management from ESCP Europe and a certificate in Global Diplomacy from SOAS London.
Jane was born in Nigeria where she spent her early years. She has lived in Great Britain and
South Africa and is currently living in Spain. Her Intercultural experience has positioned her as a
bridge-builder between Africa and Europe.