Hello, is it me you’re looking for? Telecoms and Politics in Africa

Hello, is it me you’re looking for? Telecoms and Politics in Africa

I see MTN has been in the news too often lately… That got me thinking about my reflections on the telecoms landscape in the past decade going back to my observations and reporting of “A preliminary assessment of Middle East investments in sub-Saharan Africa: Insights from the mobile telecom sector.”

The article summed up as follows:

in order to derive any medium? to long?term opportunities in the African mobile telephony market, both existing and potential investors would need to ponder over a number of concerns and/or questions arising from this article—notably, what are the key drivers behind this growth? Who are the key players driving this pattern of investments? Why the renewed interest in Africa from Middle East telcos? How has the landscape changed in terms of innovation and value added?

Answers to these parting questions remain: especially in terms of drivers and value-added.

In a follow on article,  Entrepreneurship Development in Africa: Insights from Nigeria’s and Zimbabwe’s Telecoms, political connections was observed as a driver or break depending on whose side you’re on.

Here we highlighted the challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurship development in two sub Saharan African (SSA) contexts as a point of departure. The study explored two countries with nothing in common besides the metropolitan (or colonial if you like) history.

Both case illustrations signpost emerging issues in enterprise development through compelling success stories of entrepreneurship initiatives despite infrastructural challenges and unstable economic and political landscapes experienced in the two SSA countries in recent years.

Drilling down from the country level evaluation, the enterprises and their founders are profiled with a view to generating areas for future research exploration.

Specifically, Nigeria’s Globacom, founded by Mike Adenuga, and Econet Wireless, founded by Zimbabwean Strive Masiyiwa, contribute, we hope, to current discourse on a “new generation” and perhaps learning from the “old guard” of enterprise development in SSA.

It was our hope that the article, back then and even more so now that the discourse: “would make for a good class discussion/ debate for academics teaching on entrepreneurship, innovation, and international business subject areas – and especially those in African universities or those outside the region, but also delivering courses related to that discipline.”

Where is the value added?

Read More:

Madichie, N. O. (2011). A preliminary assessment of Middle East investments in sub?Saharan Africa: Insights from the mobile telecom sector. Thunderbird International Business Review53(1), 79-92.

Madichie, N. O., Mpofu, K., & Kolo, J. (2017). “Entrepreneurship Development in Africa: Insights from Nigeria’s and Zimbabwe’s Telecoms”. In Entrepreneurship Development in Africa: Insights from Nigeria’s and Zimbabwe’s Telecoms. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004351615_009

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