I am sure each one of us deep down is a dreamer, who wants to reach out for the sky in whatever they are truly passionate about. However, a few of us decide to execute our dreams and let me tell you – you should! In order to do so, I would like to share a story behind my ongoing research of Foreign Direct Investment into the African agricultural sector.
Primary agriculture – growing food – has always fascinated me. The same can be said about my desire to travel and contribute to distant – geographically speaking – and demanding projects. Therefore, when I was asked what would I like to research during my bachelor’s thesis, the answer was obvious: African agriculture, as – I believe – Africa is the continent of the future and the continent of immense opportunities.
“Fantastic!” – said my supervisor – “but what exactly would you like to research?” My honest answer two years ago was: “I do not know.” Many conferences, conversations and pages later I realised that I am truly passionate about developing a conceptual understanding of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into African agriculture.
Three topics were of particular interest to me. Firstly, I wondered whether leaders play a crucial role in the success of FDI into African agriculture. The hypothesis seems obvious, but with an ongoing argument whether leadership is more of an art, or science, it proved to be a fascinating research area. Secondly, with an ever-increasing role of states in economic development of countries (think economic crisis in 2008 and quantitative easing that followed), I wondered how significant is the role of external support – such as diplomatic help, or conferences – in the success of FDI. Lastly, following on my passion to change, improve and innovate, I was curious to find out whether and if yes, how entering African agriculture affects innovation within the businesses conducting the investment.
Currently I am in the final stages of conducting interviews with a wide range of contributors to my research – starting with primary agricultural operators, through consultants, philanthropists, researchers, investors, all the way to the most senior diplomats and governmental officials from both African and non-African states – therefore, my definitive and well-rounded answer as to what it takes to succeed with FDI into African agriculture is not yet ready. Nevertheless, some very clear themes emerge already. My interviewees hugely emphasise the role of visionary and ethical leadership in the public sector.
However, above all, if there is one theme that emerges most clearly, it is the very theme that brought my research to life – it is worth dreaming big and not being afraid to pursue your dreams. Each of the interviewees I talked to so far clearly had ups and downs with their African projects. However, each of them tries to achieve a better vision for Africa, and for themselves, they have painted – some many years ago. And guess what?
Each of them is a very happy person – a virtue we so much crave nowadays. Therefore, I urge and encourage you – do not be afraid! Dream big and do not forget to wake up at 6am next morning to execute those big plans. It is worth it!
About the Author
Mateusz Ciasnocha – on a constant mission to “unleash dormant potential.” Africa is one of Mateusz’s four great passions alongside: agriculture, innovation & entrepreneurship and religion. In his short career Mateusz visited six continents either as a student, consultant, or journalist. Currently, busy with researching Foreign Direct Investment into African agriculture as part of his bachelor at Hult International Business School, as well as pursing a Master’s degree in Energy Management at ESCP Europe Business School. Finally, busy helping Hon. John Godson with the organization of the III Polish-African Economic Forum, which will take place in Abuja on February 23rd and 24th 2017. If you ever need anything, feel more than welcome to reach out via LinkedIn.