Professional body and business school partner to transform best practice

The UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership (UNISA SBL) and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Southern Africa (CIPS SA) have established a strategic partnership to further develop academic career paths with tertiary level qualifications for CIPS SA members.

The academic business partnership operates such that CIPS SA members will directly benefit from UNISA SBL’s internationally recognised Masters programmes. The SBL flagship, the Master of Business Leadership (MBL) and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) programmes will extend their research subjects to include Procurement and Supply Management.

“This is a vital link between the academic institution and the professional representative body,” Prof David N. Abdulai, UNISA SBL Executive Director and CEO, told SmartProcurement at the CIPS Pan African Conference in late May. “It will provide a significant boost for the Procurement and Supply Management profession as the SBL genus research will inform practise.”

UNISA SBL is the business school with the largest footprint in Africa. Its research already embraces joint projects across NEPAD and the 16 member countries of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), which bodes well for building a regional body of knowledge and complements the continent-wide presence of CIPS branches.

CIPS is an international organisation, operating in over 150 countries, with more than 65 000 members worldwide.

CIPS Southern Africa serves the specific needs of the Procurement and Supply Chain community in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa.

UNISA SBL’s African footprint is “key to CIPS SA’s approach”, and the professional body can now enhance the professional development prospects of its members by implementing a system of mutual accreditation in terms of which the prior learning of students in CIPS SA programmes is recognised by UNISA SBL, and vice versa, said CIPS SA Managing Director, Andre Coetzee.

“This will translate into an academic qualifications ladder which will aid the ongoing professionalising of the Procurement function,” said Coetzee.

This initiative is a step forward in addressing the qualifications ‘silos’ in which so many Procurement and Supply Management learners are stuck. Students now can look forward to enlarging their scope and substantially increasing the available choice of courses and programmes.

“UNISA SBL and CIPS will acknowledge each other’s qualifications, which is an important step in promoting the portability which has been lacking between Academic Qualifications and Professional Training,” said Yolandi Raath-Booyens, CIPS SA Head of Professional Development & Membership.

CIPS SA and UNISA SBL’s agreement comes on the back of CIPS SA’s collaborative partnership with National Treasury wherein CIPS SA is recognised as the professional representative body for the South African government’s procurement cadre.

David Nobel.jpgMeanwhile, David Nobel, CIPS CEO, has indicated that CIPS is targeting the attainment of 50 000 members across Africa over the next five years.

“The CIPS Code of Ethics is leading the way in developing a strong sense of ethical practise and provides the solid basis for Procurement professionalism across Africa,” concluded Nobel.

Commerce Edge Academy is an international CIPS Study Centre offering the body’s Procurement and Supply Chain qualifications through a unique online forum supported by a MCIPS qualified tutor, a guide to the study material, face-to-face examination revision workshops and progress assessments. Contact the Academy’s registrar on

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