Place, Belongingness, and International Entrepreneurship in Africa: Impact on Sustainable Development
Keynote Speaker: Dr Eva Roberts, CEO and Founder Morvigor, Sierra Leone
Special Guest: Dr Sangu Delle, Managing Director Africa Holdings, Investor and Author
Organizers: Penelope Muzanenhamo, Andreas Hoepner, Kenneth Amaeshi, Emmanuel Adegbite and Konan Seny Kan
Globally, the role of business is changing. “People are using business models and ideas to attack age old problems of poverty, education, disease, and more participation in society” (Freeman, 2017, p. 462). In Africa, entrepreneurship is transforming the continent. There now prevails a new generation of international entrepreneurs driven by commitment to Africa’s sustainable development (McDade & Spring, 2005), which is seeking novel ways to give something back to its continent (Financial Times, 2017).
Many such entrepreneurs are going beyond corporate philanthropy (Amaeshi et al., 2016), while increasing their presence in multiple African countries (Boso, Adeleye, Ibeh, & Chizema, 2019). They are making decisions which not only shape the continent’s development trajectory significantly (Forbes, 2012) but also impact the integration of African firms in global value chains. For example, IT entrepreneurs in Kenya are engaged in outsourcing projects that span across USA, Asia and Europe (see, for example, Guardian, 2014), and thereby contributing to Africa’s sustainable development.
The objectives of many international entrepreneurs are no longer merely about maximising profits for shareholders. Instead, their business purposes and goals endorse social responsibilities, which put ethics, humanity and dignity at the core of what companies do (Freeman, 2017; Freeman, Wicks, & Parmar, 2004). However, in what way are all these trends related to place, belonging and sustainable development, particularly in a world where prominent socio-political actors are advocating ‘putting their countries first’, and climate change is threatening livelihoods globally? This question represents the main theme that the workshop Place, Belongingness, and International Entrepreneurship in Africa: Impact on Sustainable Development, seeks to explore with researchers, business practitioners and policy makers.
Conceptually, international entrepreneurship refers to “the discovery, enactment, evaluation, and exploitation of opportunities–across national borders – to create future goods and services” (Oviatt & McDougall, 2005, p. 540). International entrepreneurship accommodates corporate entrepreneurship, and may involve the formation of new organisations, or not (Oviatt & McDougall, 2005). Place (e.g. Africa) is a complex construct that alludes to people and their geographical habitat (Muzanenhamo, 2019). As worlds of meanings, places play a crucial role in shaping human-beings’ sense of belonging (Tuan, 1977). The latter, a sense of belonging or belongingness reflects individuals’ perception of themselves as part of an entity, e.g. social group or the environment (Hagerty, Williams, Coyne, & Early, 1996). Belongingness fundamentally motivates human behaviour (Maslow, 1943). Hence, a sense of place and belonging fosters place attachment, and potentially influences entrepreneurial initiatives that aim to tackle poverty across generations in Africa (Amaeshi and Idemudia, 2015).
There are multiple factors pointing to the potential impact of locally implemented business activities upon sustainable development in Africa. For instance, international entrepreneurship is evolving in a continent that is now better connected within itself and the rest of the world through improved information and communication technology. Furthermore, African countries are now experiencing more economic growth and political stability as compared to about a decade ago (African Development Bank, 2019). In addition, international business is likely to benefit more from the recent Continental Free Trade Agreement committed to by 44 African states in May 2019 (African Union, 2019).
Research and policy areas
The international entrepreneurship trends and evolving role of business in the context of sustainable development in Africa are yet to be matched with more systematic research. Such inquiry is crucial for informing business strategy for sustainable development, and policies of relevance to business that is adopted by African actors and their international development partners. In view of these observations, we invite papers from scholars, business practitioners and policy makers, that are based on qualitative, quantitative, or a mixture of both research methodologies, and which address but may not be limited to the following areas:
- What forms and types of entrepreneurial initiatives are undertaken due to a sense of place and belonging, and how do they impact on sustainable development?
- In what ways do environment factors (competitive forces, growth opportunities, national culture, industry profitability, institutional environment, climate change, etc.) impact upon entrepreneurs’ sense of place and belonging, and potential contribution to sustainable development?
- How does gender influence an entrepreneur’s sense of place and belonging, and potential contribution to sustainable development?
- What role do NGOs play in facilitating a sense of place and belonging, entrepreneurship and sustainable development?
- What is the relationship between MNEs, a sense of place and belonging, and sustainable development?
- How does belongingness affect the participation of African firms in global value chains and potential impact on sustainable development?
- How does belongingness influence competition and collaboration, and sustainable development?
- How does nationalism influence belongingness and potential contribution to sustainable development among international entrepreneurs?
- How is the relationship between a sense of place and belonging, entrepreneurship and sustainable development evaluated?
What role do African consumers play in the context of place, belongingness, entrepreneurship and sustainable development?
We invite extended abstracts of not more than 1500 words, to be submitted by the 10th of November 2019 to: penelope.muzanenhamo[at]ucd.ie. Papers that address any issues within the theme of the Workshop are highly preferred, and their authors will be invited to present their work. The organisers of this workshop are in the process of liaising with a few leading International Business Journal outlets for a special issue addressing the theme of the Workshop. Therefore, the workshop will include a paper development component.
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Penelope Muzanenhamo, Assistant Professor in Business in Africa at UCD College of Business, University College Dublin, Ireland. She is also the Africa lead within the Centre for Business and Society (CeBaS) at UCD College of Business, and a member of the UCD Earth Institute. Her research focuses on brand Africa sustainable development, Africapitalism and African consumer markets. She has published a number of peer reviewed book chapters and conference proceedings on brand Africa and sustainable development. Her work has been honoured with a best track paper award by the Academy of Marketing 2011, and a Plague by Morgan State University, USA, 2018.
Andreas Hoepner, Professor of Operational Risk, Banking & Finance at UCD College of Business, University College Dublin, Ireland. He serves as the School’s Vice Principal for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). He is also the sole inventor of a US patent titled ‘Investment Performance Measurement’ who has also won several awards including a 2015 PRI/Sycomore Best Quantitative Paper and the 2010 PRI Academic Research Award. Among other leadership roles, he heads the ‘Practical Tools’ research group of the Mistra Financial Systems (MFS), and serves on the European Union’s Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance as one of three independent members. He has published interdisciplinary research numerous journals that include Accounting, Auditing & Accountability; Brain & Behavior; Ecological Economics; Environment & Planning C; European Journal of Finance; Journal of Business Ethics and Journal of Business Finance Accounting, among others.
Kenneth Amaeshi, Professor of Business and Sustainable Development and Director of the Sustainable Business Initiative at University of Edinburgh Business School, UK. He is also committee member of the Gifford Lectures, a policy adviser and public philosopher. He was a Chevening Scholar, a Scholar of the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, University of Nottingham, and a Visiting Scholar at Said Business School, University of Oxford (where he is currently an External Examiner). He has led interdisciplinary research projects spanning European and African universities. His work has been published in multiple research journals that include Journal of World Business, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Management and Organization Review, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability, Africa Journal of Management, International Business Review, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Journal of Organizational Change Management, International Journal of Financial Services Management, and Business Ethics: A European Review, among others.
Emmanuel Adegbite, Professor of Accounting and Corporate Governance at Nottingham University Business School, UK and visiting professor at James Cook University, Singapore. His interdisciplinary research has been honoured with awards, for example the 'International Business Review Best Journal Paper of the Year Award' in 2016. He has published across a range of Journals that include Accounting Forum, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Review of Quantitative Finance, International Review of Financial Analysis, Journal of World Business, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Management Studies, International Journal of Business and Society, and International Business Review, among others. Emmanuel Adegbite has also published several book chapters and a book in the area of corporate governance.
Konan A Seny Kan, Senior Lecturer at Otago Business School, New Zealand. He was the Head of the Accounting Department at Toulouse Business School (France). His interdisciplinary research covers the areas of Accounting, Governance and CSR, Organizations (MNCs and Emerging economies), and Configural Thinking, and has been widely published in Sustainability, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Research, Society & Business Review and African Management Studies, among others.
This Workshop is sponsored by UCD College of Business, UCD Earth Institute and Irish Aid. We are very grateful to our sponsors.