Africell, LSE, and Casa do Impacto partner in Angola

Training programme on leadership and entrepreneurship for Africell staff, local entrepreneurs, Angolan government officials, and Angola-based graduates of UK universities

15 March 2024 | Africell and the London School of Economics have partnered with Casa do Impacto, a Lisbon-based startup accelerator, to offer a series of bespoke training courses on “intrapreneurship” and “empathetic leadership” in Angola, where Africell is a leading mobile operator.

The training introduced the theory and practice of leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation, drawing on cutting-edge academic research at LSE and Casa do Impacto’s experience as a home to Portugal’s thriving start-up ecosystem.

Between 4-7 March 2024, experts from LSE Generate and Casa do Impacto led an intensive three-day workshop for almost seventy Africell Angola employees. They also oversaw a taster course for local high school students and a seminar for senior officials in Angola’s national space programme (GGPEN). The GGPEN session was co-sponsored by the office of the governor of Luanda Province and Luanda’s municipal administration.

“Appreciation for empathetic leadership resonates deeply in Africa,” says Laura-Jane Silverman, Head of LSE Generate. “In a region where community is key, emphasising the power of human connection and absorbing it into leadership practice is highly effective. LSE has undertaken much research in this area and it is encouraging to see organisations like Africell offering training opportunities to aspirational employees based on these ideas”.

Founder and CEO of Casa do Impacto, Inês Sequeira, agrees. “Angola has many individuals who are creating innovative solutions to address social, political, and technological issues. This session was an opportunity to blend international best practices with local ideas and perspectives inside a fast-growing local company, creating bridges with mature ecosystems. Our training session aimed to share what we have learned at Casa do Impacto, but it also exposed us to the remarkable developments taking place in Angola”.

During the visit to Angola, LSE and Casa do Impacto co-hosted with Afrimoney (Africell’s mobile money platform) and Launchpad (a Luanda-based co-working space) a panel discussion and networking event for local entrepreneurs, which explored the theme of “Building innovative communities: perspectives from Luanda, London and Lisbon’. LSE and Africell also joined with the British Embassy to host an event celebrating educational and business links between Angola and the UK. 

“We are pleased to have welcomed such a prestigious UK university to Angola”, says UK Ambassador to Angola and São Tomé & Principe Roger Stringer, MBE. “The UK and Angola have a strong friendship with a bright future. Bringing one of the UK’s star institutions to Luanda for the very first time will enrich the connection and hopefully inspire future collaboration”.

LSE has a long tradition of educating African and other global leaders. LSE Generate, which helps LSE students, alumni and staff build their own businesses, has previously worked across Angolophone Africa, but not in Portuguese-speaking countries. Partnering with Africell, which launched services in Angola in 2022, gives both LSE and Casa do Impacto unprecedented access to one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most dynamic and strategically important countries.

The in-house training programme for Africell employees (titled ‘Leading With Impact’) came within the scope of the Africell Impact Foundation, for which education and entrepreneurship are key focus areas. In May 2023, Africell and the LSE’s Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa held a major event at LSE’s main campus in central London focusing on innovation in Africa, and the pilot programme of ‘Leading With Impact’ ran in The Gambia and Sierra Leone in October 2023.

Sam Williams, Africell’s Group Communications Director explains the initiative’s rationale:

“We want to give Africell colleagues a unique, high-quality learning experience backed by a world-class university which represents a serious investment in their professional development. We are also keen to facilitate links between the LSE, Casa do Impacto, and Angola, a country with a lively entrepreneurship scene that stands to benefit from more engagement with institutions like LSE and Casa do Impacto”.