[ACCI] From 3 to 5 March 2021, an ACCI training took place on the theme: “Economic intelligence and corporate diplomacy in the FTACA”; the main objective of the session was to equip participants to monitor their environment 24/7, to collect economic intelligence and turn it into a decision-making tool, to inject in a subtle and lasting way a credible image of their company in the mind of each individual actor and transform him into an ambassador of our brand.
We took part in the session and drew the following main lessons:
The Economic Intelligence (EI) which is an essential tool in global competition both from a strategic and operational point of view is considered by ACCI as a state of mind, a device and a process of questioning, collection, processing, analysis, rapid and secure transmission of information useful for decision-making in competitive territory. The EI is based the triptych: Defence (manifestation of “hard power” which consist in the sanctuarization of our territory by the Defence Forces); Attack (land of expression of “smart power” with the conquest of new territories/markets through companies and various organizations); and then Influence (domain of “soft power” whose objective is to change the people behaviour without the use of physical constraint, notably through the cultural industry and the media).
Although the FTACA is a source of hope for a lagging Africa, it is not immune to various fragilities: at the time of globalization and open markets, Africa, a new frontier for global growth, through the establishment of the FTACA, aims to catch up and even to position itself as a major player and competitor, or even as an essential partner in the field of trade. However, this new instrument takes place in a context where the options (border closures or restrictions on access to the territory, through tariff and/or non tariff barriers) of certain African states among which the largest economically, are backwards from the objectives of the FTACA; however, such a reality is likely to further dilute the level of intra-African trade.
Monitoring is cardinal in the field of EI: States/companies that want to compete must put in place a Monitoring Plan. Indeed, if we agree that “who has the information has the power” it follows that any organization that seeks to differentiate itself from others must install and develop a monitoring system whose focus varies according to the objectives it sets. There are political, competitive, environmental, commercial, technological and financial axes.
Diplomacy appears as an effective weapon for a successful and sustainable deployment of the company: if it is desirable that corporate diplomacy is backed by state economic diplomacy, the absence of the latter must not prevent the company from developing a diplomacy that allows it to influence public decision-making and to be well perceived in the environment in which it operates.
Crisis management approaches are varied and the choice of an approach must be in line with the crisis situation experienced: to better communicate during crisis situation, there is a multi-step operational approach and crisis communication strategies.
Based on the above we suggest for the SABC group, besides the consolidation of its Monitoring Plan, the strengthening of its diplomacy in Cameroon and that of the Castel group in Africa.
By Hervé YOTCHA