Teaching potential for African growth
Both guests teach and share insights about what they took into consideration when designing their courses. Dr. Agbugba (agriculture) says he looked at the needs of Africa. He points out that Africa’s transformation is happening right now, but poor marketing is standing in the way of fully maximising its business opportunities. Dr. Agbugba emphasizes marketing and it’s principles and points out the importance of Africa taking control of the value it produces in the food chain. He stresses the potential in small businesses across Africa, remarking that there is immense potential for targeted marketing here with basic segmentation principles.

Paul Womaungo (tourism) agrees and - for sure - thinks that Africa’s greatest potential lies in tourism, which he notes is a product. Thus, he focused on how to plan for tourism when designing his class. Paul is an accomplished general manager at a hotel in Kampala, Uganda, and discusses how his almost two decades of experience in the field has taught him many lessons about marketing. He also interestingly explains that he has unique insights into the industry because he has lived as a resident in a tourism zone for much of his life.

Africa needs to be rebranded
Later in the interview, when asked about adapting to COVID-19 friendly online learning environments, Paul explains how he has adapted to teaching during these times. Besides switching to an online portal and learning environment like many teachers around the world, he has made accommodations for students with limited internet access. He remarks that if students don’t have stable access to the internet, he gives them his phone number and WhatsApp so that communication and education can be done over the phone. Dr. Agbugba has made similar changes and accommodations in his teaching style. Both stress the importance of education in making sure that simple economic and marketing principles trickle down and empower members of the community to be as effective in their businesses as possible, whether it be agriculture or tourism.

Taking control of African value
Dr. Muldrow quickly points out the fact that the West has commodified profitable African products like cocoa and coffee but Africa doesn’t “reap profit” from this. She then poses a question to Dr. Agbugba about what specific challenges Africa is facing to business marketing. Dr. Agbugba explains influences such as poverty, cultural diversity, and the impact of COVID-19 on everyday life in Africa. Impacts to food security and business caused by the pandemic mean that services that promote online or remote purchasing rapidly gain popularity on the continent.

Africa is investible, and they are coming
When asked if Africa is ready for investors who may actually be exploiters, Dr. Agbugba explains that Africa already has the upper hand, as it is “endowed with resources.” Strategic marketing is the key to making sure that deals with eager collaborators are win-win situations. Dr. Agbugba supports Paul Womaungo's case in saying that the tourism sector needs more government spending. Many potential sources of revenue are underutilised, and Agbugba sees an opportunity for Africa in post-pandemic tourism. He returns back to his point about agriculture and explains that funding in agriculture is essential to minimising poverty on the continent. Improved agricultural practices will mean more opportunities for stable food security and create formal jobs in a truly African food chain. Dr. Amaugo puts it best, commenting “it’s high time Africa started seeing agriculture as a business and not just a way of life.”

What do you think the futures of the African tourism and agriculture industries will look like as a consequence of COVID-19? What role does the rest of the world play in these and what will change in Africa's relationships with the other continents?

Dr. Ikechi Agbugba, who was previously featured on our website here, is a distinguished scholar in the field of agricultural economics. With a BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees in the subject, he is now a lecturer at Rivers State State University. A detailed biography of Dr. Agbugba and his contact information can be found here.

Paul Womaungo is a managing partner at Hospitality Yield in Kampala, Uganda with over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He has worked a variety of jobs in the field during this time and is also an instructor at Osiri University.

Dr. Amarachi Amaugo is a senior lecturer ad De Montfort University in the Leicester. Specialising in human resources management, her research explores international HRM in developing countries.

Dr. Adrienne Muldrow is an as assistant professor of communication at East Carolina University. She specialises in courses such as international business and research relating to the intersection of marketing and ethnicity, gender, and race.