The management development specialist, local or international, must understand Africa′s historical background in order to contribute effectively to the continent′s current management development needs. Important elements of management development in pre‐colonial Africa, from which lessons can be learned for present and future management development programmes, are outlined. The impact of the colonial period on institutional and management development, and the need to draw on local resources and indigenous knowledge systems for designing and implementing these programmes, is discussed. The institutional infrastructure commonly used for management development in Africa is outlined and the objectives, challenges and opportunities of national and regional institutes are discussed. Finally, practical guidelines for solicitation, design, implementation, and evaluation of management development programmes in Africa are provided.
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