CARISCA is working to become the go-to research center for relevant and valuable data and insights that support business operations in Ghana and Africa, enabling businesses and stakeholders to make evidence-based decisions. The African Business Managers’ Index (ABMI) is a specialized aggregated index that will provide a dashboard of indicators measuring business performance and growth first in Ghana and then more broadly in Africa (similar to how the gross domestic product (GDP) measures economic growth). The insights from this survey will generate knowledge for public, private and non-governmental organizations in Africa and around the world.
Emmanuel Quansah is leading the creation of a new business tool to support decision-makers in Africa as part of CARISCA’s effort to identify African business trends and support higher education institutions in building capacity to create locally relevant supply chain research, provide best-in-class degree programs and training, facilitate research translation and utilization, engage stakeholders in best practices, and increase the participation of women in supply chain education and practice.
The ABMI will rely on feedback from business leaders. CARISCA needs your help to gain valuable knowledge about business activity, so we can work together to improve businesses and livelihoods in Africa. Individuals and companies who complete the survey and subscribe to the ABMI will receive ABMI reports and key insights.
1. WHY DO WE NEED THE ABMI?
“The ABMI is targeted at meeting the need for business information that enables businesses, governments, policymakers and investors to make evidence-based strategic decisions to improve their operations and competitive advantage.
“African businesses need more reliable local data. There is a significant lack of business data in Africa. Information on business activities in Ghana and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa is limited and we need data that support business decision-making. The ABMI will help track the movement of various activities in the business sector to fill the present information gap.
“When fully developed, the ABMI will be an aggregation of several key sector indices, including the Logistics Managers’ Index (LMI), Technology Entrepreneurs’ Index (TEI), Women Entrepreneurs’ Index (WEI), Human Resource Index (HRI), and Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI), which can give businesses in Africa a better idea of present trends. The LMI will reveal the current and future status of logistics activities across different industries. The TEI will provide insights into current and emerging innovations by technology entrepreneurs. The WEI will show the state of affairs of activities of women entrepreneurs in key productive sectors. It is envisaged that the HRI will provide insights into current and future human resource capabilities. The CSI will track and compare customer satisfaction performance across key productive sectors in Africa’s economy.”
2. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO GHANA?
“Limited reliable data availability has, to a large extent, compelled businesses in Ghana to make decisions intuitively, which often leads to sub-optimal outcomes. An ability to make decisions based on empirical evidence would drastically improve the performance of Ghanaian businesses. Getting access to such data is challenging, especially since 60 to 70 percent of business activity in Ghana is in the informal sector. The informal sector captures productive business activities (and workers) that operate outside of regulated economic activities and protected labor relations.
“We need a tool like the ABMI to collect and track data about the activities of such businesses to help provide a complete picture of the status of productive business activities in Ghana. Such a tool would provide businesses with a better understanding of historical data and enable them to make informed decisions. Over time, the ABMI will provide insight that improves the predictive abilities of businesses.”
3. HOW WILL IT SUPPORT THE PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SECTORS?
“The ABMI will enable the compilation and tracking of business activities in several sectors in Ghana, and this will help support businesses and the government by providing data that allows for informed decision making and policy formation. Each index will focus on specific questions that enable us to track activities within their respective sectors. For example, the Logistics Managers’ Index (LMI) focuses on logistics. Through the LMI, we will measure eight metrics in logistics that involve elements of inventory, warehousing, and transportation.
“These eight metrics will include inventory levels, inventory capacity, transportation capacity, transportation utilization, transportation prices, warehouse capacity, warehouse utilization and warehouse prices. We will try to capture the flow of funds through mobile money transfers and see how this impacts the logistics industry and the economy in general. This information has direct implications for the government and business since it will be a good indicator of the growth of the logistics industry.”
4. WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES IN CREATING AN INDEX LIKE THE ABMI?
“Building a respondent database and trying to identify the right respondents for the index will be quite daunting. Also, survey response rates tend to be very low, so we will probably need to send out many surveys. We may need to administer some surveys in person, which would mean traveling to meet top-level executives, directors and managers.
“Creating an audience for the ABMI will be pretty challenging since it’s new. But, with the right stakeholder engagement – the right partnerships — we believe that we can make it work. We intend to collaborate with professional societies in Ghana that can connect us to their members, for example, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) for the LMI).
“We will also work with Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry to build government support to lend credibility to the ABMI and increase engagement.”
5. HOW IS THE ABMI CENTRAL TO CARISCA’S MISSION?
“The ABMI actualizes some of the center’s aims. It will be one of the resources that will help CARISCA create meaningful engagements with industry partners and produce locally relevant research. Data and reports from the ABMI will position CARISCA as a premier research center that supports African businesses in making business decisions with timely, relevant data and insights.
“Likewise, the ABMI will improve KNUST’s research capacity and community outreach. Universities are expected to positively impact the communities they serve, and if KNUST, through CARISCA, can deepen industry engagement, it will help everyone. Most importantly, CARISCA will share the data collected as part of these activities with key stakeholders so they will benefit.”
6. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE LONG-TERM IMPACT OF THE ABMI?
“In the long term, being able to establish CARISCA as a leading research institute that cares about and produces research that is relevant to industry, will probably be the most lasting impact of the ABMI.”