EMEA mapI am sitting at a conference waiting for my turn to speak. Right now, there is a financial review of the year – by a fairly engaging CFO, as it happens. But one set of charts has reiterated something I have felt for a long time. This company represents their global presence by splitting the world into a few regions: North America, Central America, South America, China, India, Asia and EMEA.

EMEA stands for Europe, Middle East and Africa. This region often includes Russia as well. Many, many companies we work with use this region.

Maybe I am just sensitive as an African, but the EMEA region definitely feels as if someone went: “Africa? Not really important enough to worry about on its own. Where can we put it? Oh well, just match it to the time zones and lump it in with Europe. Sorted.”

But how is it possible that any product or service would be delivered in the same way in Europe as it is in Africa? And the economic conditions are entirely different. Most European countries are now a few years into what is likely to be a decade or more of stagnation or low growth. Whereas six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies over the past decade are in Africa. Africa is also huge. About 1 billion people in a land mass that is the same as Western Europe, China, India and the USA combined!

Size of Africa

There is surely no way that “EMEA” as a region can make any business sense. Surely no manager or team can successfully manage this immense and diverse region, or even keep the whole region in their mind.

Using EMEA as a region is madness.

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