What is it about?

Telecommunications infrastructure has been instrumental for the economic takeoff of African (defined to include sub‐Saharan Africa and North Africa) economies. Key players have emerged from South Africa and East Africa - notably Kenya, but not much is covered in terms of intra-regional investments and partnerships. This study therefore provides some preliminary insights.

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Why is it important?

While observing the renewed pattern of foreign direct investment (FDI) from and to emerging markets in a value‐added sector (mobile telecoms), this article uses a series of questions to profile the opportunities and challenges of mobile telephony in Nigeria and, by extension, Africa. Considering the exploratory nature of this article, it only presents a broad overview of the African telecom landscape, drawing largely upon secondary data. Overall, the article argues that 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?

Perspectives

Despite its descriptive nature, the article is intended to spur further, more in‐depth investigation into the FDI trends from and to emerging markets. Indeed, the recent appetite of Middle East telcos in Nigeria (and, by extension, Africa) provides an impetus for rethinking the subject of south‐south cooperation in international business. Researchers and policymakers may benefit from some of these insights in the development of their international business strategies.

Professor Nnamdi O Madichie
Nnamdi Azikiwe University

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This page is a summary of: A preliminary assessment of Middle East investments in sub-Saharan Africa: Insights from the mobile telecom sector, Thunderbird International Business Review, December 2010, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/tie.20391.
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