Nairobi News


New Nairobi hub to offer African entrepreneurs negotiating skills

African entrepreneurs now have access to a training centre where they will be supported to become better negotiators and benefit more from foreign direct investment (FDI).

The African Negotiation Institute and the Chartered Academy of Negotiators (ANICAN), which has been opened in Nairobi, will equip entrepreneurs with soft business skills as well as link them with US investors.

ANICAN delivers training seminars in negotiation, leadership, sales, procurement, supply chain management, and presentation skills to national and multinational corporations, governments, and other organisations across Africa and beyond.

“We all negotiate and one of the skills that is lacking in Africa and among African professionals as well as entrepreneurs, with emphasis to Kenya, is that we have several passionate startups that never survive the first three years,” said Prof Alexander Moses, ANICAN’s Group President.

Kenya’s enterprises, especially in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical sector, have increasingly become the target of buyouts as investors target successful business in multi-billion shilling takeover deals.

For instance, cosmetics maker Suzie Wokabi in 2015 made one of the toughest decisions of her life — selling her seven-year-old business to listed consumer goods manufacturer Flame Tree Group.

The 39-year-old however negotiated to retain the position of chief creative officer.


Prof Moses, who was speaking during the sidelines of ANICAN’s maiden launch of the Chief Executives Forum in Africa in Nairobi at the weekend, said the new school will guide African entrepreneurs to make such key but difficult decisions.

“Lack of effective negotiation skills has been identified as one of the main factors affecting the growth of such individuals,” he said.

ANICAN targets young entrepreneurial students, retired civil servant, women and young startups.

Data from the International Monetary Fund (IFC) report 2015 shows that Africa attracted investment from industrialised countries, with Kenya recording $1.9 billion by the end of 2015.

Some of these FDIs come from France, the UK, US and emerging economies such as China, India, South Africa, and United Arab Emirates.

“Our approach is preparing the bride (Africa) for the groom (US) while ensuring that the bride understands how to woo the groom, partner with the groom and cohabit with the groom as far as partnerships, investments and building businesses is concerned,” said Prof Moses.

State corporation Micro and Small Enterprise Authority estimates that the country has 12.6 million entrepreneurs who employ 80 per cent of Kenyans, contributing 20 per cent of economic growth.

Most of these start-ups are however unable to take their innovation to the next level of growth largely due to lack of cash, with most concerned over losing property rights to wealthy investors.

A 2016 report by Nairobi based Indian angel investor Intellecap shows that poor quality support systems hinders entrepreneurs rise from early to growth stages.