Growth in Africa 2015

Assessing Private and Social Sector Innovations that Drive Growth in South Africa, Tanzania, and Rwanda

Study Tours give students the opportunity to explore the economic, political, and cultural contexts of business in regions outside the US. Tours are proposed and planned by students, with the guidance of faculty and staff mentors. Below are the reflections of participants assessing public and social sector innovations that drive economic growth in Africa.

Land of a Thousand Hills


One of my favorite settings to shoot was Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills:

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Retracing an ugly history and emerging hopeful

As trip organizers, we thought it would be nice to begin each country segment with a relaxed city tour that would acclimate us to our new locale while giving us a run-down of the top cultural and historical sights.
What I did not realize was that in South Africa and Rwanda, … Read more 

Sloanies in Africa

I am writing a blog I did not expect to write, because I’m not usually the sentimental type. But I was so impressed by my classmates – by their thoughtfulness, curiosity, and courage – that I wanted to share just a little of their awesome-ness.
From the very first opportunity for … Read more 

How do you know when you’re in a developing country?

How do you know when you’re in a developing country? This question lingered with me throughout the trip, partially because I want to break stereotypes about Africa but also because I’m curious about the patterns that exist and what they might mean. So here’s a first stab at a list … Read more 

Look for action! Look for challenges! Surprise yourself!

This final reflection upon the recent Africa Study Tour I was part of is really for prospective students who are considering MIT Sloan as one of their schools.
One of the 3 “big things” I wanted to do during my MBA at Sloan was Africa – this continent has always had … Read more 

Action learning leading into critical thinking

As I landed in Johannesburg last March 15th to start what would be one the most unforgettable experiences of my MBA journey, I was reading a book named “The man who knows”, written by Viviane Mosé, a contemporary Brazilian philosopher. That Sunday would be my first day into the Africa … Read more 

Safari and Final Thoughts

For many of us, one of the most exciting parts of the trip was our Safari in the Serengeti. For this part, pictures definitely say more than words, so enjoy some of these photos from the trip!
Overall this was an amazing trip and provided me with a great introduction to … Read more 


Rwanda was an intense emotional experience initially as we immediately visited the genocide museum. I had seen Hotel Rwanda and new about the genocide at a high level, but did not know about the events leading up to it and most of the details. It was interesting how the museum … Read more 

On benevolent dictatorship

We in the US, who worship at the shrine of democracy, have a humbling thing coming to us when we visit Rwanda. President Kagame is something of a benevolent dictator, who by most accounts has done a superb job in Rwanda since the genocide. Rwanda is thriving, relatively speaking, and … Read more 

Language of education: choices in Rwanda vs. Haiti

In 2008, a Rwandan Cabinet resolution replaced French with English as the new official language of education in Rwanda, beginning with primary school. It would seem to make perfect strategic sense, as part of Rwanda’s exciting, ambitious plan to develop from a nation where (we were told) 90% of families … Read more 

On contradictions

Perhaps the second most common, (helpfully) over-simplified theme of our academic trip preparation – right after “different parts of Africa are different” – held that modern Africa tells a story of contractions: wealth and poverty, explosive growth and seemingly permanent frustrations.
It was true in what we saw of Johannesburg, and it … Read more 

On recent historical atrocities

I naively did not expect how present would be the extremely recent, truly awful chapters in both South Africa and Rwanda’s histories during our visits there. In South Africa, 1994 was the election of Nelson Mandela, marking the end of Apartheid; that same year in Rwanda was the genocide. Our … Read more