Indigenous Management Practices in Africa

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Emerald insight
The purpose of this chapter is to identify African financial management practices, highlight their origin and explain how they differ from their Western counterparts. The study identified indigenous African financial practices using literature review, archival sources and library research covering the five areas of Africa comprising Northern Africa, Eastern Africa, Central Africa Western Africa and Southern Africa. The study found out that pre-colonial indigenous African financial manage ment features prevalent use of trade finance, trade credit management, investment management and accounting. While there is also evidence of modification of Western financial management practices to suit African contexts, it is on the whole scarce. This is suggestive of the fact that they were in existence in the first instance. The clear conclusion is that many indigenous African financial management prac tices pre-dated and foreshadowed their Western counterparts. Yet, it is confounding that this has been largely lost sight of, and both scholars and financial management practitioners depict the former as inferior. There is clearly a need to remedy this situation. Educators need to focus on incorporating ethno-finance concepts into the entire curricula chain from basic to higher education. The anchor point for such curricula is Ubuntu philosophy. Financial management practitioners, on their part, need to shed notions that the indigenous practices are inferior and seek to journalise their day-to-day work experiences to build a body of documented practice.
Indigenous; Africa; financial management; pre-colonial; post-colonial; Ubuntu