The Frankfurt School of Finance and Management is set to join the small, but growing number of business schools developing partnerships in Africa.

Through the establishment of the Central African Business School in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the German school will formalise a partnership with the city’s Université Protestante au Congo.

A one-year executive MBA programme will be launched this September, to be taught at weekends on UPC’s campus by German and Congolese professors. Though UPC will award the MBA, Frankfurt will award a certificate to graduating students. Tuition fees will be $9,500.

Some 40 students are enrolled for the first class, the majority of whom are local managers working for international firms.

Udo Steffens, chief executive and president of the Frankfurt school, sees a shortage of business acumen and qualification as “the main bottleneck to updating local and national businesses” in the DRC.

For the German school, which is looking to build upon its international reputation and brand, a presence in central Africa offers “great market opportunities”, he says.

Unlike large anglophone countries such as Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania - where overseas business schools have established footholds - the DRC, a country of 75m people at the heart of the African continent, represents an untapped market.

Co-operation between the two institutions commenced in 2010, with the launch of a microfinance centre on the UDC campus. Partnership with an established local university offers Frankfurt the necessary security of investment, says Prof Steffens.

There are plans for a purpose-built home for the joint business school to accommodate proposed masters programmes and non-degree executive education.

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