Global Network for Advanced Management

Global Network Week at University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business

March 13-17, 2017

Cape Town, South Africa

Economics of Emerging Markets (Afria focus)

Lecturer:               Associate Professor Mills Soko

Course introduction:

Africa has commonly been perceived by investors and business people as a difficult place to do business, characterised by slow and complicated business requirements, widespread regulatory obstacles, inefficiency, poor infrastructure, a high degree of uncertainty and risk brought about by macroeconomic and political instability, poor governance and corruption. These perceptions have been reinforced by the reality that the continent’s unique history, diversity, geography and political and institutional landscape have shaped a highly complex business environment.

Yet, despite these challenges, a variety of economic reforms have led to a rapidly improving business environment in many countries across the continent. Declining business costs, together with a more predictable institutional environment and a wave of economic liberalisation have improved the conditions for doing business in Africa considerably. African governments have also adopted a number of policy-related reforms and strategies designed to ensure that their economies are more business-friendly.

Economic changes have coincided with, and been bolstered by, political reforms adopted by several African countries. Previously, a high number of raging civil wars were scattered across African states, including Angola, Mozambique, Burundi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Somalia.  However, recent years have witnessed improved political conditions across most African states, with most of the civil wars and inter-state conflicts having ended. With the exception of a few cases, most African countries have become peaceful and politically stable. This augurs well for future economic growth and development.

Learning outcomes:

•               Analyse the political, social and cultural contexts in which businesses operate in Africa.

•               Understand the business strategies of firms in Africa.

•               Examine the problems and challenges of doing business in Africa, as well as potential solutions.

•               Explore the changing modalities of doing business, as well as the broad business environment following over a decade of economic and political reforms.

•               Discuss the experiences of South African companies in Africa as well as the impact of Chinese trade and investment on the continent.

•               Reflect on factors that are critical to building successful enterprises in Africa.