Outward foreign direct investment and firm internationalisation from Sub Saharan Africa

Fasanya, Oludotun (2018) Outward foreign direct investment and firm internationalisation from Sub Saharan Africa. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is a region with a population of over 1 billion people and abundant natural resources. With a current GDP of about US$1.6 trillion and an average GDP growth of about 5% over the last decade, it is fast developing into a vibrant business region. Its firms are also rapidly evolving to become competitive international players. With immense potential, SSA is one of the last unexplored frontiers of business, and conducting research into its emerging OFDI and internationalisation phenomenon is both interesting and important. Adopting an inductive methodology, this thesis explores the phenomenon at both country and firm levels through the use of a funnel approach. Specifically, this research investigates the important OFDI push and pull influencing factors, and the internationalisation process of indigenous firms described as SSA MNEs. It also examines the relevance of FDI and internationalisation theories to SSA. Based on a detailed literature review and conceptual foundations, a broad range of OFDI factors were developed into a comprehensive OFDI framework of twenty push and pull factors for SSA. In a subsequent firm-level analysis, this framework was used to underpin qualitative case studies from firms in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya, and interviews were conducted with senior executives. Case findings reveal fourteen influential push and pull factors in the region, with enterprise strategy and market growth being the most important push and pull factors respectively. The results also show that the internationalisation of SSA MNEs occurs through an incremental process that takes time, with patterns indicating the use of either systematic or unsystematic international market selection methods. For the purpose of subsidiary control, locational fit, and risk mitigation, SSA MNEs use a mixture of foreign market entry modes, such as greenfield investment, joint ventures, and licensing. Traditional FDI and international business theories relevant to SSA are identified, and it is found that several emergent approaches find support including the ‘firm resilience capabilities’ argument of this thesis. Based on general findings and syntheses, the thesis advances a taxonomy of SSA MNE’s which outlines internationalising firms from the region as market growth optimisers, strategic asset aggregators, networks consolidators, or low-cost market converters. With regard to the enhancement of market growth, the findings indicate the importance of openness to trade to internationalising SSA firms. The thesis therefore considers the impacts of Brexit on SSA MNEs with EU operations and recommends they develop strategies that will mitigate the risk of potential export trade limitations and market fragmentation after Brexit. Such firms providing financial services in the UK should also restructure their legal entities to accommodate potential changes to EU financial passport conditions after Brexit. Generally, SSA MNEs carrying out OFDI should deploy enterprise strategies that allow for both the reduction of deficiencies in institutional mechanisms and for the leveraging of their resilience capabilities for market growth. Overall, the thesis suggests that it enhances the international business discourse and it makes an original contribution to the understanding of OFDI and internationalisation from SSA.

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Thesis (PhD)
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26 Sep 2018 09:24
Last Modified:
21 Sep 2023 03:30