BRIC+S in Africa? Opportunities and impediments for South African corporations.

Auteur Nadine WENZEL
Directeur /trice Prof. Olivier Graefe, Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg
Co-directeur(s) /trice(s) Prof. em. Bill Freund, Department of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Résumé de la thèse

The relationship of cooperation and competition between South African businesses and Asian companies has become more complex in the last 20 years. With South Africa joining Brazil, Russia, India and China, what in early 2011 became BRICS, the country represents the African continent with its growing market potential. However, South African medium and large size companies (SA MLCs) seem to perceive and experience the positioning of BRIC businesses in Africa rather as a challenge than an opportunity. For their operations, the African markets were and still remain the focus area. How do SA MLCs engage with the so called Asian Drivers? Relevant studies exist on African macro- and socio-economic impacts of Chinese and Indian economic expansions. A need has been identified for a deeper understanding of the adaptive capacity and practices of South African entrepreneurs, who play a significant role for the economic development of and the urgently needed job creation in South Africa. Considering the minerals industry’s importance in South Africa and BRIC's interest in African mineral resources, a number of private SA MLCs active in the Minerals-Energy Complex were selected. In order to analyze South African entrepreneurial strategies and practices for competing and building new partnerships a focus on companies’ interpretations of perceived dynamics and structural impediments was chosen. This project's first objective is thus to understand how South African medium and large size companies interpret and understand their contemporary field they play or want to play in. The second objective will be to reconstruct companies’ pragmatic engagements for achieving relative stability in increasing competitive markets. The theoretical framework applied for understanding entrepreneurial practices as analytical objects picks up recent debates revolving around the ‘practice turn’.

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