Doing Business in Africa

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
10 weeks
Module code
Centre for Financial and Management Studies

Module overview

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.

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.

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, 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.

Study calendar 2022/23

Elective module S1
Doing Business in Africa (M493)  Not running Not running Running Not running

Study calendars are subject to change.

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


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules