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This module will launch in 2021/22
More information will be available closer to the launch date.


This module aims to achieve the following goals.

  • First, present you with an overview of the African continent with regard to doing business.
  • Second, help you to gain insights from the successes and failures of domestic and international businesses in various African countries.
  • Finally, enable you to acquire enough familiarity with African businesses and processes to start making strategic decisions.

Learning outcomes

When you have completed this module, you should feel confident of your ability to:

  • understand the economic developments and opportunities and challenges of business in Africa
  • explain what characteristics African economies exhibit, and what fundamental factors and underlying conditions have an influence on major developments in the business sphere
  • relate current events and economic developments in the continent to their historical, political and economic context
  • assess the potential for investment in Africa
  • make strategic choices about where and how to enter African markets
  • assess the role of finance and capital markets in different regional settings
  • interpret and use information you receive on regional developments in your own research, professional and business needs in a professional manner.

Study resources

Study guide

The module study guide is carefully structured to provide the main teaching, defining and exploring the main concepts and issues, locating these within current debate and introducing and linking the assigned readings.

Key text

Suzanne M. Apitsa and Eric Milliot (Eds.) (2021) Doing Business in Africa. Palgrave Macmillan.

Module readings

Throughout the module you will be directed to study a selection of readings, including journal articles, book extracts and case studies that are of particular relevance and interest to the topics covered in the module.

Virtual learning environment

You will have access to the VLE, which is a web-accessed study centre. Via the VLE, you can communicate with your assigned academic tutor, administrators and other students on the module using discussion forums. The VLE also provides access to the module Study Guide and assignments, as well as a selection of electronic journals available on the University of London Online Library.

Module overview

Unit 1 Economies in Africa
  • Economic and demographic characteristics and trends
  • The transitions taking place: from trade and investment with ex colonial powers to China and India; from planning to markets; digital economy; fossil to renewable energy.
  • Wealth and income distribution.
  • The dominant companies on the continent
Unit 2 Internationalisation
  • Market entry methods
  • Choice of country
  • Country risk analysis
Unit 3 International Marketing
  • Market entry strategies
  • Targeting and segmentation
  • Brand positioning
Unit 4 Natural Resources
  • Developments in oil and gas extraction and refining
  • Growth of renewable energy and on and off grid electricity supply
  • Extraction of coltan, lithium, gold, copper and diamonds
  • Foreign investment in the resource industries
Unit 5 Logistics
  • Trends and opportunitie
  • Transport infrastructure development
  • Development of air freight
  • The major players in logistics
Unit 6 Banking and Finance
  • Domestic and international banks
  • Trends in retail banking and electronic and telephone banking
  • Commercial banks
  • African stock exchanges
Unit 7 Retail
  • Growth of multinational retailing within Africa
  • Understanding transnational retail failures
  • Domestic retail operations
Unit 8 International Organisation and Culture
  • Organisational form for ventures in and into Africa
  • Components of organisational culture that can enhance or inhibit investment
  • Some rules for operating in Africa

Tuition and assessment

Students are individually assigned an academic tutor for the duration of the module, with whom you can discuss academic queries at regular intervals during the study session.

You are required to complete two Assignments for this module, which will be marked by your tutor. Assignments are each worth 15% of your total mark. You will be expected to submit your first assignment by the Tuesday of Week 6, and the second assignment at the end of the module, on the Tuesday after Week 10. Assignments are submitted and feedback given online. In addition, queries and problems can be answered through the Virtual Learning Environment.

You will also sit a three-hour examination on a specified date in September/October, worth 70% of your total mark. An up-to-date timetable of examinations is published on the website in July each year.