UCT GNW March 2015

University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business

March 2-6, 2015


Cape Town, South Africa

Topic & Description:

Economics of Emerging Markets: Social Innovation and Business in Africa

Students will be familiarised with a variety of economic, social, environmental and political trends and developments that may impact either directly or indirectly on the strategy and operations of businesses in an emerging market economy such as South Africa or Africa more broadly, and to consider the role and some of the current responses of the business community to these trends.

The course commences with an introductory session that considers the risks facing business leaders, globally, in Africa and in South Africa, and the role that companies have in contributing to or alleviating such challenges. The key purpose of the course is to think critically about the dynamic context and role of business, and to consider implications for strategic decision-making.

We discuss ongoing debates surrounding the purpose of business, possible tensions between shareholder returns and stakeholders’ interests, and calls for business strategy to identify “shared value” for both the company and society. There is seldom a single answer to many of these issues or a simple template by which a business can form a strategy in relation to these issues. These issues are by their very nature highly complex and require a good understanding of complexity management in order to address and control for them. The course aims to provide students with an opportunity to reflect upon these issues and begin to understand how businesses might respond to or influence them.

Potential themes include:

  • Introduction to the South African Political Economy

  • Introduction to Doing Business in Africa

  • Social Entrepreneurship in Africa

  • Emersion into Entrepreneurship in South Africa’s “Second Economy”: Field Trip

  • Investing for Impact in South Africa

  • Social Entrepreneurial Value of Social Networks

  • Social Innovation in South Africa

Faculty: Professor John Luiz

Company visits:

The course will use a combination of lectures of an interactive nature and company visits.  There will also be a field trip to illustrate access to (South) Africa’s low income markets – with examples of business and social innovation.  The idea is to rethink products for low income markets at the base of the pyramid.