Africa and Oxford Saïd

OBFA attendees

Africa is projected to be the world’s second-fastest growing economy, with that comes a need for leaders who can navigate challenges & opportunities

Our Africa focus

Leading the way in supporting and recruiting students from Africa.

On average, only 2% of full-time MBA students in international programmes are from Africa. A pledge was made by Dean, Professor Peter Tufano at the 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa to have at least 10% of our MBA students from the African continent. Since the MBA class of 2016, we are proud to have had over 11% of each MBA cohort hailing from the continent.

Our African students provide direct insight into a range of exciting emerging economies that will become increasingly influential in the global marketplace. By increasing our efforts to support more African students onto our MBA and other programmes they, and our African alumni, become a powerful force in educating our community about the opportunities on the continent.

Beyond recruitment we have embedded Africa-focused activities into the curriculum and co-curriculum, including case-studies, Africa business electives and hosting African thought-leaders to share their insights with our students and alumni.

Our aim is to be a part of the positive change in the region, by cultivating talented African students while educating the whole of our student body about Africa’s intellectual wealth and economic potential. The diversity of our students, whose broad range of experience and background stimulates and strengthens the classroom discussions, is a key factor of the success of the MBA programme.

African Scholarship recipient

As Africans we all share a common goal: the economic emancipation of Africans. In my view, from there flows access to opportunities, in particular access to education.

Peter Links

MBA 2016/17

Investing in talent

We advocate for greater levels of investment into talent from across Africa.

We encourage talented individuals from across Africa to have the self-assurance to apply for a programme at Oxford. Frequent School-led information and recruitment events are hosted in many African countries by faculty and senior School leaders – allowing us to connect with and support talented individuals. We also identify excellent candidates by working closely with organisations, including the Harambe Alliance, Africa Oxford Initiative, African Leadership Institute, CDC Group's Africa List, the WEF Global Shapers and the Mandela Rhodes Alumni Community.

We are proactive about increasing access for quality candidates who may not have considered doing an MBA. We have implemented additional support for our African candidates such as providing funded GMAT preparation courses, profile assessments, alumni mentoring and application guidance.

I was attracted by the theoretical and practical approach of the MBA programme itself. The programme imparts skills to develop a business concept and implement it, all with a holistic view of business on an interlinked world stage.

Harriet Okwi Asiyo

MBA 2016/17


Growth Prospects and Opportunities for Business in Africa

Our annual international Africa elective: Growth prospects and opportunities for business in Africa is attended by more than a quarter of the MBA student cohort. This elective is held in an African country each year, and is supported by companies that have successfully expanded across the continent. The aim is for students to understand what the long-term drivers of change in Africa are, and the variety of business opportunities. Students that attend are interested in working in Africa in the future, and therefore this elective is key in highlighting the opportunities that students can take up post-MBA, ultimately allowing them to contribute to the Africa-growth story.

Inclusive Business in Africa

Held in Cape Town, the module looks into the realities of doing business Africa. Our Executive-MBA students are able to explore the use of innovation, inclusivity and social responsiveness in emerging markets. The module helps participants understand the landscape in which businesses operate to be able to mitigate risks and seize opportunities worldwide.

Doing Business in Africa

This elective for our MBA & Executive MBA students provides students with an understanding of some of the key challenges and opportunities that managers, investors, entrepreneurs, and policymakers face on the continent, as well as to offer tools to analyse this complicated environment. The course uses a systematic approach to analyse and address some of the most common challenges managers face in Africa: obtaining financing; managing human capital constraints; dealing with infrastructural and institutional inadequacies; finding and analysing data; and understanding the political context. The objective is not only to help students see new opportunities, but to provide them with models and strategies for managing the challenges created by this complex environment.

Building Businesses using Shared Value Strategies

The elective will explore how “Shared value” as a business strategy can be used to find business opportunities in social problems. Using a range of case studies students will be introduced to the core concepts of “Shared value” and the key challenges to building a business in Africa. Using a systematic approach, students will explore how entrepreneurs are implementing “Shared value” business models to set themselves apart from their competition whilst positively contributing to the social and economic development of the African continent. Through the lens of a several entrepreneurs operating in Africa, students will be introduced to a set of tools needed to build a “Shared value” business in Africa.

Funding and Scholarships

View our scholar profiles

We recognise that funding can be an economic barrier to obtaining further education and provide scholarships for talented African students

Our commitment to provide scholarships for talented African students, led to the creation of the Africa Saïd Foundation Scholarships. These are awarded to Africans with outstanding leadership abilities who can demonstrate a commitment to the African continent via personal mentorship or community involvement. At least 50% of our African MBA students receive financial support in the form of scholarships or bursaries. We have a number of scholarships that African MBA candidates may apply for, including scholarships funded by the Saïd Foundation and external donors:

  • Eni-Oxford Africa Scholarship: Awarded high aspiring and high potential African MBA candidates who can contribute to better leadership and governance of the continent 
  • Oxford-Adara Foundation Scholarship: A full MBA scholarship awarded to a female African nationals who has demonstrated a commitment to contribute to Africa’s development
  • Oxford-Grace Lake Scholarship: MBA candidates must be ordinarily a resident in Nigeria and funded by Grace Lake Partners in partnership with the Alumni Annual Fund
  • Saïd Business School Foundation Africa Scholarships: In recognition of the School's commitment to Africa, these MBA scholarships are awarded to candidates of African nationality who demonstrate knowledge of and a commitment to the continent
  • The Hasmukh Patel Scholarship: An Executive MBA scholarship awarded to African nationals who have contributed to Africa’s development and evidence of an intention to continue to contribute to Africa’s development
  • Jacobs Foundation Scholarship: Open to MBA candidates with a strong interest in the field of youth and childhood development and/or education, or in agricultural development in Africa 
  • Africa Dean's scholarship: Personally funded by Dean Peter Tufano and his wife, and awarded to an African MBA candidate who has demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities and who can demonstrate a commitment to the African continent 
  • Oxford Pershing Square Scholarships: Recipients are exceptional individuals on the 1+1 MBA who can demonstrate the potential and commitment to finding scalable and sustainable solutions to world-scale social challenges
  • Eni-Oxford DPhil Scholarship: Open to offer-holders to the DPhil in Management programme. reference will be given to applicants who are of African nationality and/or have an interest in corporate reputation

Africa Dean's scholar

It is truly an honour to have been selected as one of the Dean’s Scholars for Africa. To me, this represents a positive reflection of the Dean’s and Oxford Saïd’s recognition and commitment in driving growth and development in Africa.

Stephanie Mambo

MBA 2017


Innovative finance in Africa - Exploring the emerging impact investment industry in Africa

The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship collaborated to create twelve teaching case studies on Innovative Finance in Africa. The cases feature eighteen impact enterprises and sixteen funds from eleven countries across the continent.

These cases represent the largest body of academic work focused on Africa that explores this emerging investment industry.

African networks

We are expanding the community of individuals and organisations working with us to connect our students and alumni to opportunities across the African continent.

Oxford Africa Business Alliance

Created to formalise and strengthen our Africa initiative, and to stimulate action in addition to generating ideas. MBA students can join as members of the Oxford Africa Business Alliance. Jointly led by a school and student leadership committee, the alliance focuses on aspects relating to development, corporate engagement, recruitment and communication. It also brings African thought-leaders the School and wider University to talk on the opportunities on the continent; and connect with other African related networks and groups. Members engage in and support our activities throughout the year and continue to support as alumni. Members can identify activities they would like to support and generate new ideas; but most importantly share their thoughts, demonstrate their passion for Africa, and support their peers.

African Studies Centre

This acts as a focal point for graduate level work and faculty. The MSc in African Studies is already recognised as Europe’s most prestigious and successful training programme in its field. This MSc is a popular choice in our 1+1 MBA programme, which combines the MBA with a selected Masters programme across the University.

We work closely with the Africa Studies Centre on a range of activities including guest speakers, masterclass sessions, research and peer-support.

Africa Oxford Initiative

AfOx is a cross-university platform for academic and research collaborations between the University of Oxford and African researchers and institutions. The Initiative supports the work of universities and research institutions across Africa and facilitates the development of equitable and extensive collaborations between Oxford and African institutions.

The Oxford University Africa Society

For over 50 years this has provided thought-leadership, and a platform for discussion and engagement with contemporary African issues. The Society hosts speakers across disciplines, artists, film screenings, discussions and social events centred on Africa and its diaspora. Many of our MBA students are part of the Africa society and as a school we support joint activities and initiatives.

Invest Africa

This network is a platform for business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs to gain insight into doing sustainable business in Africa. It connects us, our alumni and students with over 350 members made up of global organisations, private investors, institutions, fund managers, family offices, policy makers and entrepreneurs.

AFSIC – Investing in Africa

We are a partner and academic sponsor of the conference, where Africa investors, dealmakers and business leaders come together to discuss issues affecting their sectors. More than 250 companies attend, representing 34 African countries plus 32 other countries that have supported the School in making career connections for our students and alumni.

Oxford Africa Business Forum

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OBFA speakers

Sharing insights into the opportunities and challenges to doing business on the continent with African thought-leaders

This forum supports our commitment to creating meaningful networks and opportunities within Africa. It is also an opportunity for us to develop new, and strengthen existing relationships with individuals and organisations who share our vision. 

This next Forum, on 12-13 March 2021, will delve into the opportunities and challenges that Africa’s fast growing youth population present. More than 200 million Africans, or just over 20 per cent of the total population, are aged between 15 and 24, and that demographic is expected to grow to 321 million by 2030. How government and business leaders on the continent manage Africa’s “youth bulge” will determine how economies are able to access the opportunity and navigate the challenge.



Expanding our Africa initiative

Supporting long-term success and development requires vision, leadership, networks, and resources. We invite you to partner with us by providing advice, networks, and financial contributions.

Establishing a professorship of African Business

It is now crucial we hire a permanent faculty member who can build up a significant body of research and, through teaching and mentorship, help African students to develop their skills and experience in the business environment. We are looking to establish a new post for an individual with a passion for teaching, research, and student enrichment, who will take a leading role in attracting excellent students. Funding is required to support the ideal candidate who will set a compelling research and teaching agenda and help the School deepen its professional networks across the continent. We are seeking support for at least five years, which will provide an opportunity for the donor to name the professorship. Alternatively, we would welcome endowed funding that would ensure permanent expertise in African business at Oxford.

Expanding our African Scholarships

We are keen to increase the number of full and partial scholarships we can offer. We would like to develop partnerships with organisations and individuals who share our commitment.

Recruit our students

To recruit students, our partners use various engagement strategies, from online job postings to dedicated campus events. Our careers team offers support and advice, so recruiting top-class talent from the School is straightforward and consultative. We can arrange events on site, giving you the chance to meet our students in person through presentation and networking sessions, and conferences or talks. 

We also can arrange for students to visit your business as part of internships, projects or ‘company treks’.

Funding research

Funding research or case studies will assist us to addresses major topics and challenges in business and society in Africa. You can help us to continue attracting leading experts by funding new posts in academic areas where we are expanding our teaching and research. Support can take many forms, from endowing new posts to funding researchers and career development fellows.

In the press

Read more about our African-related activities, students and alumni.

Degree programmes

One-year MBA

Our MBA programme provides you with a solid foundation in core business principles while developing a broadened mindset and understanding of the role of business in society. You will be challenged to delve deep into the areas that interest you most and gain the strategic skills and insight to lead a successful, purposeful career.

Executive Degree portfolio

Includes the Oxford Executive MBA, the MSc in Major Programme Management and the Oxford Diplomas in Strategic Management. These programme enable current and future leaders to make a difference in their chosen field. Designed to be both intellectually challenging and practical, the programme consists of part-time modules that to fit alongside your work commitments.

Custom Executive Education

Transformational learning to drive business success

Along with many opportunities, African countries face a particular array of economic, political and social environments that create unique business challenges. Exceptional leaders are needed by organisations to gain a competitive advantage and our custom programmes are designed to enhance the skills and leadership abilities of your future leaders within your organisation. We are able to combine your knowledge of local and regional markets with our practitioner expertise.

Open programmes

An exceptional learning experience

Our range of Open programmes are beneficial for experienced senior executives in African companies who have significant responsibility in strategic decision-making. These programmes are designed to assist business executives to navigate rapid change within Africa's dynamic markets and support high-performance teams, so that you will be ready to drive growth within your organisation.