1240 Doing Business in Africa - the Next Frontier
ao.Univ.Prof. Dr. Barbara Stöttinger
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
09/13/23 to 09/17/23
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
This class is only offered in winter semesters.
Day Date Time Room
Friday 10/06/23 01:30 PM - 06:00 PM D2.0.392
Friday 10/13/23 01:30 PM - 04:00 PM D2.0.392
Friday 10/20/23 02:00 PM - 06:30 PM D2.0.392
Friday 11/03/23 02:00 PM - 06:30 PM D2.0.392
Friday 11/10/23 02:00 PM - 06:30 PM D2.0.392
Friday 11/17/23 02:00 PM - 06:30 PM D2.0.392

Africa as a continent with its over 50 nation-states has attracted a lot of attention from international companies across the globe operating in different sectors (e.g., FMCG, infrastructure, mining, construction, pharma etc.). The political and economic conditions in quite a few of the countries have improved to the point that international companies get increasingly involved.


At the same time, a strong entrepreneurial movement has sparked in some of the countries like Kenia. The start-up scene is flourishing, eg., in Silicon Savannah, turning the adverse conditions into great opportunities through frugal innovation. Companies like M-Pesa with its mobile payment System are expanding internationally and many others follow in these footsteps. These initiatives empower customers at the base of the pyramid to lead a better life than the generations before them. Nevertheless, there are also a lot of downsides to these developments, as political risk is still prevalent. Also, Africa continues to be of geopolitical importance where claims are set out for the future.


In this course, our objective is not only to understand Africa better as a continent with its opportunities and risks, but also to determine market opportunities and to develop suitable market entry strategies. Moreover, we will highlight entrepreneurial initiatives in and out of African countries and shed light on how the political Situation in the countries but also outside influences (e.g., from China) affect the Business eco-System.


The course is highly interactive and will be co-taught by Dr. Barbara Stöttinger, who is on the faculty of the Institute for International Marketing Management and Mag. Bernhard Hötzl ("bernhard hoetzl" | Search | LinkedIn). He is a successful serial entrepreneur who has started and expanded businesses on a global scale. Moreover, since recently, he is engaged in entrepreneurial ventures in Africa.

We are looking forward to working with you - NOW we are ready!

Learning outcomes

Students will learn how to ...


  • evaluate core concepts in international marketing for their applicability to managerial challenges across Africa and different customer groups in African countries (with a focus on East Africa)
  • evaluate the role of (frugal) Innovation as a key principle for doing Business successfully
  • assess Africa as a contintent and its individual nations for their suitability of doing international Business 
  • learn to apply key concepts in international marketing to different market situations in Africa
  • identify research methods to solve specific challenges in gathering Information on customers, companies and the Environment in African countries 
  • structure and restate complex international marketing challenges in the context of Africa
  • gather and filter information efficiently and effectively on a specific research topic
  • learn to organize teamwork efficiently and effectively
  • reflect on others' and one's own role in a team
  • evaluate the individual learning and development progress
  • develop critical thinking
  • defend developed arguments orally and in writing 
  • structure material in to a coherent line of arguments and present it in a concise way
  • not only learn how to communicate information, but also develop creative ideas to get the message across
Attendance requirements

As we want to all benefit from your ideas and experience, we are looking forward to your presence in the classroom. You can miss 10% of the lectures (i.e., 1 session max). Please let us know in advance if possible.

Teaching/learning method(s)

Within this course, a variety of didactic elements are utilized to facilitate the successful completion of learning outcomes outlined above.The course is delivered as a mix of lectures covering theoretical concepts and their application, as well as case studies (prepared at home and in-class, individually and in group work, discussed in class). To complement the in-class work, we will also invite external experts as guest Speakers in the respective field to share their insights with us. 

AI tools, such as ChatGPT, may be used for
  • doing research on certain topics,
  • but not with the development of written assignment (e.g., text, reflections, etc.).
  • In any case, please identify in a short sentence (at the end of the assignment, on the cover page, etc.),
    • if you have used AI tools
    • how/what for you used them.

This is important as all assignments will be checked for plagiarism and use of AI!


Your performance is based on 

- Participation 15%

- Peer Review 5%

- Article Reviews 30%

- the Jigsaw 15%

- Presentation 15%

- KUZE Project 20%

Grading Scheme (Total 100pts):

  • 100-90 pts - 1
  • 89-80 pts - 2
  • 79-70 pts - 3
  • 69-60 pts - 4
  • below 60 - failed

Please look at the section "Additional information for course members" for details on the assessment

    Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

    This course is part of the elective pool "Marketing for a Better World" of the MSc Marketing at WU.

    MSc Marketing students can only register if they have successfully completed the following mandatory courses from the 1st year:

    • Management by Experiments (5 ECTS)
    • Marketing Analytics (7.5 ECTS)
    • Digital Marketing (5 ECTS)


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    Recommended previous knowledge and skills

    Students who choose this Elective need to have a solid background in marketing principles, knowledge of international marketing basics are definitely helpful, but not necessarily required. Relevant literature will be provided as a background. What you definitely should bring to the table is curiosity, openness and and inquisitive mind, as we want to explore a continent with opportunities, challenges and diversity. 

    Availability of lecturer(s)

    by arrangement via E-Mail:

    Unit details
    Unit Date Contents
    1 Oct 6

    Africa as a continent of more than 50 Nation states with substantial political, social and cultural similarities and differences. Moreover, historic developments play an important role in today's business environment.

    In this session, we will 

    • explain our motivation for the course
    • hear from you what you know about Africa and what you expect to learn
    • provide an overview of the different sessions
    • outline the deliverables for each session of the course
    • investigate the institutional environment (politics, legal issues, technological developments, social influences, PEST) on doing business
    • highlight how this institutional environment differs in emerging from advanced economies and 

    AssignmentArticle Review "Institutional Environment" 

    Distinguished Guest Speaker: Hans Stoisser 🌍 | LinkedIn; Hans is a highly known keynote speaker and consultant on Sub-Saharan Africa. He is well connected to African leaders, the entrepreneurship environment in several countries and to Austrian companies doing buisness in the region.

    2 Oct 13

    Africa as a continent of more than 50 Nation states with substantial political, social and cultural similarities and differences. Moreover, historic developments play an important role in today's business environment.

    In this session, we will:

    • investigate the institutional environment (politics, legal issues, technological developments, social influences, PEST) on doing business
    • highlight how this institutional environment differs in emerging from advanced economies and 
    • elucidate these specificities in the African context for selected countries
    • look at the impact of the recent COVID 19 crisis on Africa

    Assignment: Article Review "Institutional Environment" (see learning activities section on learn@wu)

    Distinguished guest speaker: Tobias Reiter, Co-Founder and CEO of VIEBEG, a VC-backed Health Tech company (Tobias Reiter | LinkedIn)

    3 Oct 20

    Economically developing markets are often characterized by a growing middle class and by customer segments who live from only a few dollars per day - so-called base-of-the-pyramid segments.  Both segments can be highly attractive to domestic, but also international companies, if we understand what these customers need and how to serve them.

    In this session, we will,

    • take a deeper look into what middle class means in emerging markets and which needs & demands these customers have
    • delineate customers at the base-of-the-pyramid and
    • what makes them attractive as customers and 
    • how to generate win-win situations between customers and companies


    Distinguished Guest Speaker: Mag. Angela Dus (Angela Dus | LinkedIn): a longstanding executive at IBM, Angela has moved on to foster her social entrepreneurship activities in Kenya.

    4 Nov 2, 17 - 18

    Meeting with KuzeKuze - Online

    5 Nov 3

    Africa as a Business Environment: challenges and opportunities for companies of different size and origin - how they deal with it successfully. A particular Focus will be put on the emerging Entrepreneurship Environment (e.g., "Silicon Savannah" in Nairobi, Kenia), where a Vibrant start-up Scene has developed, some of These companies have expanded internationally successfully and where big Western MNCs (like Facebook) invest heavily.

    Assignment: Flipcharts - Entrepreneurship

    Distinguished Guest Speaker: Hannes Eckmayr, Serial Entrepreneur in Africa,


    6 Nov 10

    The Lions and the Dragons: how Chinese companies have discovered and systematically grow their business in Africa to become one of the leading investor countries in Africa. Strategies, opportunities and challenges will be evaluated.

    Assignment: Article Review "China & Africa" (see instructions on learn) 

    Sun, I. (2017): The World's Next Great Manufacturing Center, Harvard Business Review, May/June, p. 119-128.

    EIU - Africa-China Relations Report (for a digital copy see file storage section)

    Distinguished Guest Speaker: Helge Fahrnberger | LinkedIn

    7 Nov 17

    In order to be successful in the developing countries of Africa in the longer term, businesses must consider inclusive approaches and create social impact. Companies need to understand the positive and negative impacts of their business on the global Agenda 2030 as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This session will introduce the global goals, discuss the roles and responsibilities of businesses in contributing to their achievement in Africa, and provide an overview of key stakeholders businesses will encounter along the way.

    • Rio Tinto QIT Madagascar Minerals (2012). Sustainable Development Report 2012. Available at
    • Specter, M. (2015). Extreme City - The severe inequality of the Angolan oil boom. The New Yorker, JUNE 1, 2015 Issue. Available at
    • World Bank Group (2017). Innovative and Inclusive Social Enterprise Models: Addressing Off-grid Sanitation Needs through Serviced Toilets. World Bank Group Social Enterprise Innovations Program (see file "serviced_toilets.pdf in the File Storage section)
    • World Business Council for Sustainable Development (2016). Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals: The inclusive business approach. WBCSD. (see file "WBCSD_Inclusive Business SDGs.pdf in the File Storage section)

    Distinguished Guest Speaker: Mag. Alice Schmidt (www.aliceschmidt.atAlice Schmidt |; Alice Schmidt is an advisor, business consultant and speaker on social development and sustainable business in a global context. She recently co-authored “The Sustainability Puzzle: How Systems Thinking, Circularity, Climate Action and Social Transformation Can Improve Health, Wealth and Wellbeing for All". Having worked for 20+ years in 30 countries (including 12 in Africa) with over 70 different organizations, she is an expert in engaging with businesses, civil society, international organisations and governments on solving today’s global sustainability challenges.  (15:30 - 18:30)

    Assignment: article review - CSR & Sustainability (individual assignment) 

    Last edited: 2023-11-01