News & Highlights

  • JUNE 2022

Creating Emerging Markets Interview: Uche Orji

Uche Orji describes his education in chemical engineering and transition into an accounting career. He looks back on his early auditing jobs at Arthur Anderson (now Accenture) and his studies at the Harvard Business School. Mr. Orji then delves into his experience building organizations as the Financial Comptroller of Diamond Bank (now Access Bank) and the CEO of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). He discusses being resourceful and resilient, building trust with government entities, and how the manages its funds to maximize benefits to the public. This interview is part of the Creating Emerging Markets project which provides a unique research and teaching resource on business leadership in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East over recent decades.
  • June 2022

Virtual Book Talk with Felix Oberholzer-Gee

This June, the ARC hosted a virtual book talk with Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee on his new book Better, Simpler Strategy: A Value-Based Guide to Exceptional Performance, where he explained how companies can achieve better results doing less and chasing fewer ideas – those that truly make a difference. Professor Oberholzer-Gee stated that the most successful companies in the world ask one simple question: Will this new business idea create value for customers, employees, or suppliers? No matter how interesting the idea may sound, it’s not worth touching if customers aren’t willing to pay for it or it won’t create the kind of value that translates into financial success.
  • May 2022

Case Discussion: EbonyLife Media

This May, in celebration of the HBS Case Centennial, the ARC hosted a Virtual Case Discussion with HBS professors Andy Wu and Feng Zhu who led a discussion on their recent case on EbonyLife Media. The company’s CEO and Founder, Mosunmola “Mo” Abudu joined the session and provided additional insights on the dilemma and EbonyLife’s progress to date. Founded in 2012, EbonyLife began as a television channel on the Africa-wide direct broadcast satellite service DStv. By 2020, EbonyLife had produced over 5,000 hours of television content and Nigeria’s top-three highest-grossing movies. The case addresses how after more than 20 years in the media industry in the UK and Nigeria, EbonyLife Media CEO Mo Abudu considered several strategic changes for her media company’s future.
  • January 2022
  • Creating Emerging Markets

Interview with first Nigerian Minister of Communication Technology

In her interview with the Creating Emerging Markets project, Dr. Omobola Johnson discusses her early upbringing and education, her consulting career at Arthur Anderson, her takeaways from her tenure as the first Nigerian Minister of Communication Technology under the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, her experience in venture capital at TLCom Capital, and her role as the co-founder of WimBiz, a non-profit dedicated to empowering women.

New Research on the Region

  • May 2022
  • Case

Rawbank's Illico Cash: Can 'Fast Money' Overcome Cash Dependency in the DRC?

By: Lauren Cohen and Grace Headinger

Thomas de Dreux-Brézé, the Head of Strategy and Project Management at Rawbank Congo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was perplexed as he reviewed annual adoption rates for the bank’s launch of Illico Cash 2.0. As the bank’s mobile money app, Illico Cash literally promised “Fast Cash” for its users who also had a Rawbank account. Unlike most mobile money platforms on the African continent, Illico cash was backed by an established bank — not a technology or a telecommunications company. As he contemplated Rawbank’s next strategic move, the future of Illico Cash, and the bank’s future moves into digital payment systems in the DRC, he saw multiple challenges to Illico Cash’s adoption in several regions across the DRC. Seeing lower-than-anticipated usage rates, he wondered if local preferences for cash seemed just too powerful to overcome. Can the bank’s digital payments efforts overcome hurdles in local infrastructure, entrenched interests that favored cash, and currency instability? Would crafting a digital ecosystem be a worthwhile investment for Rawbank without a wholesale structural shift in beliefs?

  • May 2022
  • Case

The Freedom Fund (A): Ending Modern Slavery

By: V. Kasturi Rangan and Courtney Han

The Freedom Fund founded in 2013 to end modern slavery had raised more than half its intended target (by 2025) of $200 million. In 2021, impressed by its decentralized-partnering style of operations, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott awarded the Fund a gift of $35 million over 5 years. The beauty of the gift was that it came with no strings attached. It was completely unrestricted for use the way the company’s management and staff deemed fit. Nick Grono, the organization’s first CEO was wrestling with the question of how to put the money to best use.

  • April 2022
  • Teaching Material

Tempur Sealy International (A, B & C)

By: Benjamin C. Esty and Daniel Fisher

Teaching Note for HBS Case Nos. 718-422, 718-423, and 718-424. The cases explore the long-term relationship between Tempur Sealy (TPX, a mattress manufacturer) and Mattress Firm (MFRM, a bedding retailer and TPX's largest customer). For almost 20 years, the firms enjoyed a mutually beneficial and commercially prosperous relationship. Yet in August 2016, Steinhoff (a large, South African retailer) made an offer to acquire MFRM. Whether this acquisition will affect the symbiotic relationship that had existed between TPX and MFRM was the subject of intense speculation. While some industry observers believed it would increase MFRM's bargaining power vis-à-vis TPX, others argued it would not alter the balance of power, and that the incentives to collaborate would remain intact.

See more research

Johannesburg Staff

Pippa Tubman Armerding
Executive Director
Tafadzwa Choruma
Administrative, Research and Program Assistant

Lagos Staff

Wale Lawal
Senior Researcher