The lesson that I would like to focus on for my Blog #4 is Lesson 14: Doing Business in Africa. The reason I wanted to do this lesson is because a lot of the cultural aspects of a successful business partnership are somewhat similar to those of Honduran business. In the cultural characteristics portion of the chapter it was interesting to me that when it comes to family and kinship, the nuclear family is important but in African society, the tribe is the ultimate community and no other unit has more importance. This was interesting to me because they see their tribe as the country not the actual land mass. This is different than most if not all regions when it comes to not only business but societal structure. Even though Africa is considered an underdeveloped country, I like that the way that their society works revolves around only the tribal community. The elders make ultimate decisions when it comes to judging, being mediators, and leaders in religious and tribal life. In Honduras we have 13 ethnic groups that live in rural Honduras, they do handle their own issues within the community but they do depend of the government and receive public assistance. In contrast, I feel like African tribes pretty much handle everything within the tribal community and rarely go out of that niche to receive help from other communities.
I also found interesting that trust and friendship is an essential element needed to be in a successful enterprise in Africa. This is something that I myself find important and like that many countries so far have had that quality to the way that they do business. I liked that in the book it was highlighted that something someone must always remember when doing business in Africa is that friendship comes before business. Warm and receiving attitudes would be better appreciated than the cold “quick to the point” approach that the United States has. The book also mentions that there are steps that are taken prior to doing business such as small talk about other things that don’t relate to the business deal and that in traditional African settings, Africans share food and good fortune with other members. I think that this is important because too many times I have read or seen that a company fails because there are partnership issues. The fact that they take the time to build a friendship and trust between each other reads across to me as a country who prefers to do business for the long-haul and they want to know that other person well before they commit to a partnership in business.
It was interesting also that when it comes to having meetings in African countries that they are usually done in an office, a bar, or a restaurant but never in their home. It is a common thing in Honduras that a business partner comes over to dinner and gets to know the other individual and the individuals family. I like that while Africans keep their business settings less formal, they still maintain some sort of personal distance by going about their business away from their personal homes. One of the things that caught my attention was the attitudes that they have towards business deals, the book explains that while Africans tend to be low key about their business interactions they are wary of foreigners and that cut-throat, cold, and high-pressure business tactics will probably ruin the business deal because they will mistrust the other party.