Perspectives for Africa

ESB Business School receives new funding for economic research in Africa

By Katrin Reil

Under the name “Doing Business in Africa” (DBA), researchers at ESB Business School at Reutlingen University have been working on private-sector perspectives for sub-Saharan Africa since 2021. Thanks to funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), economic research in Africa is now continuing to grow in Reutlingen. The current agenda holds great potential for policy consulting. 

“We believe that private-sector initiatives in Africa offer the opportunity to decisively advance the continent’s development. Our work is intended to offer companies support in developing and working the markets of sub-Saharan Africa, i.e., in supplying them with products and services in the best possible way. In doing so, we look at African as well as German and international companies”, explains DBA Director Professor Dr Philipp von Carlowitz. The funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection will enable him to expand his team and address new topics. Among other things, the researchers want to investigate which sales and marketing strategies are successful in Africa in order to derive recommendations for action for companies. Another research focus is the question of the right form of market entry and the decision when to localise market development more.

In direct cooperation with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, DBA is researching both the role of so-called tech hubs as innovation drivers for African markets and the motives, causes and framework conditions for exports by Ghanaian SMEs to West Africa, Europe and the USA. “Our current agenda holds great potential for policy consulting. It develops a fundamental understanding for private-sector engagement in Africa. This is highly relevant for the German funding of companies as well as for the development funding of innovations and entrepreneurship in Africa”, says von Carlowitz, explaining the relevance of his research.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) also supports “Doing Business in Africa” with public funding. It enables intensive teaching and research cooperation with universities in Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda. Within the framework of the cooperation, African academics will come to Reutlingen University to teach and conduct research at ESB Business School. In return, the DBA team will teach, conduct research and expand its network locally.

“With our private-sector perspective of the continent, we are among the German universities that heighten the visibility of African research and expertise. The cooperation with our African partners and colleagues at the Kiel Institute of the World Economy will certainly provide us with many new impulses” says von Carlowitz, welcoming the decision to continue funding the project until the end of 2024.