Most Read Contributor in South Africa, September 2016
With Africa increasingly being perceived as a key market for
companies looking for growth opportunities, local professional
services firms are building capacity, recruiting key personnel and
expanding their footprints in order to enable them to service
existing and potential clients moving into the continent.
The recent State of the Future report from the Millennium
Project shows that by 2060, Africa's population will reach 2.7
billion, and its economically active population will triple.
According to Piet Faber, Chief Executive at ENS (Edward Nathan
Sonnenbergs), these sorts of numbers are attracting global
companies operating in a range of industries, from mining, retail,
banking, manufacturing, and telecommunications, to Africa.
"This in turn, is creating new opportunities for legal,
accounting, auditing, consulting and marketing firms operating in
South Africa and the rest of the continent," he says.
Faber says that in order to compete for business, many
international and local professional services firms are
aggressively targeting top talent from across the globe. He says
ENS, however, has been fortunate in that lateral hires from
international firms have chosen to join its ranks and this has
further enhanced its position as a pan-African firm. The firm
appointed 23 new executives this year alone. These hires have
included the appointment of Ian Hayes, previously the National Head
of Corporate and Commercial at DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. Hayes
will co-lead the corporate commercial department with Chairman
Michael Katz, and joint Heads of Corporate Commercial, Doron Joffe
and Koos Pretorius.
According to Faber, it will also be crucial for professional
services firms to have a presence in key African territories with
top personnel who have an in-depth knowledge of local practices,
market conditions and regulatory issues.
"For international firms, expanding into Africa is not
simply a case of acquiring strategic business assets in the local
market. They are looking for established service providers with
local knowledge and international experience to guide them through
the challenges of growing a footprint in Africa," he says.
"As a result, ENS has also set up an Africa department and
recently announced the opening of ENS | Rwanda and ENS | Burundi
and have plans to open across the African continent in due
According to Faber, the opportunities and potential for doing
business in Africa is starting to provide local organisations with
a more attractive proposition for attracting top talent. "The
world's top professionals are waking up to the opportunities
Africa presents for them. Firms that are best able to provide these
opportunities to employees are most likely to attract the best
talent and skills – and ultimately come out on top in the
race for Africa," he says.
ENS was last week rated the 3rd BEST Employer in South Africa -
behind international giants Microsoft and SAP in the medium-sized
employer category. This makes ENS the only law firm in South Africa
to be ranked amongst the Top 10 BEST Employers overall. "We
are exceptionally proud of this rating which recognizes our efforts
to provide the best opportunities and working environment for our
people. It is accolades such as this that position us as the
African law firm of choice for the top legal talent world-wide and
enable us to make the high-profile hires that are necessary to grow
our footprint in Africa," says Faber.
Originally published in Insurance Gateway,.September
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