News & Highlights

  • APRIL 2021
  • EVENTS

The Future of Digital Leadership Executive Roundtable Series, Hosted by Professor Linda Hill

The ARC organized two virtual executive roundtables on The Future of Digital Leadership in Africa with Professor Linda Hill. Participants were from the Sub-Saharan Africa region and had extensive experience and expertise in the digital space. They represented traditional, established organizations as well as new digital start-ups in industries including insurance, fintech, telecommunications, healthcare, and e-commerce. Professor Hill led a discussion on what being a digital leader means (mindset, behaviors and capabilities), how today’s digital leaders are thinking about developing the next generation of leaders in their respective industries, and how leadership shapes the future of business society.
  • MARCH 2021
  • MBA Experience

MBA Voices: A Lifelong Friendship: From classmates in Cameroon to roommates at HBS

MBA Voices is a collection of community perspectives that provides prospective students with insight into life at HBS. In this interview, Gana Gana & Kevin Nguenkam, MBA students from Cameroon, talk about growing up in Douala and how they share a lifelong friendship. They have had many experiences together including their first business venture in high school. Kevin shares highlights of his experience at HBS and how the case method pushed him to think in news ways. Gana explains how interesting the virtual education has been for him and how the Africa Business Club has been a core part of his experience at HBS.
  • JANUARY 2021
  • EVENTS

Virtual Case Discussion with Professor Brian Trelstad

On January 18th the Africa Research Center hosted a virtual case discussion with Senior Lecturer of Business Administration Brian L. Trelstad on a new case, LifeBank Nigeria. The company is a Nigerian medical logistics start-up and is aiming to improve access to essential medical supplies in the country. Professor Trelstad focused the conversation on social entrepreneurship and systems change, engaging with participants about the choices that the founder Temie Giwa-Tubosun faces. Over 30 alumni and friends of the school joined the session and enjoyed a lively discussion.
  • OCTOBER 2020
  • MBA Experience

MBA Voices: A Nigerian Student’s HBS Experience—Interview with Zainab Raji, MBA/MPA-ID 2022

MBA Voices is a collection of community perspectives that provides prospective students with insight into life at HBS. In this interview, Nigerian student Zainab Raji, MBA/MPA-ID 2022, talks about her upbringing, education and career. Born and raised in Nigeria, she attended Emory University and then worked at Deloitte’s Risk Advisory Practice in Atlanta, Georgia and subsequently at McKinsey across different African locations. Raji shares highlights from her first year in the MBA/MPA-ID Program, including her work at the HBS Africa Business Club and the HBS Women in Investing Club, as well as her summer internships. The Master in Business Administration/Master in Public Administration-International Development (MBA/MPA-ID) is a three-year program that combines the core curricula of the HBS MBA and HKS MPA degrees with a wide range of elective options from both schools.

New Research on the Region

  • April 2021
  • Case

SA Taxi (A)

By: Nien-he Hsieh, Dilyana Karadzhova Botha and F. Christopher Eaglin

SA Taxi was a vertically integrated business that operated in South Africa’s distinctive taxi industry. Despite being plagued by violence, informal structures, unsafe road practices and lack of government support, the taxi industry had grown to become South Africa’s most common mode of public transport. SA Taxi was one of the largest companies entirely focused on serving the taxi industry. In addition to vehicle financing services, it offered insurance products, refurbishment services, and retail capabilities. SA Taxi served a mainly black-owned industry whose main participants—taxi owners, drivers, and commuters—had been historically disadvantaged. SA Taxi CEO Terry Kier understood that his company was already creating substantial impact for these constituents through financial inclusion, job creation and skills development but he knew that SA Taxi needed to do more to enhance its sustainability as well as that of the industry. By 2018, following multiple engagements with industry representatives, Kier saw an ownership deal that benefited the industry as SA Taxi’s next strategic move. Although there was an alignment among the company’s leadership on the need for and purpose of the deal, the transaction itself was far from clear. After consulting with internal and external stakeholders, Kier landed on three deal options. Kier and the company’s founders needed to agree on the best path forward.

  • April 2021
  • Teaching Material

SA Taxi (B)

By: Nien-he Hsieh, Dilyana Karadzhova Botha and F. Christopher Eaglin

SA Taxi was a vertically integrated business that operated in South Africa’s distinctive taxi industry. Despite being plagued by violence, informal structures, unsafe road practices and lack of government support, the taxi industry had grown to become South Africa’s most common mode of public transport. SA Taxi was one of the largest companies entirely focused on serving the taxi industry. In addition to vehicle financing services, it offered insurance products, refurbishment services, and retail capabilities. SA Taxi served a mainly black-owned industry whose main participants—taxi owners, drivers, and commuters—had been historically disadvantaged. SA Taxi CEO Terry Kier understood that his company was already creating substantial impact for these constituents through financial inclusion, job creation and skills development but he knew that SA Taxi needed to do more to enhance its sustainability as well as that of the industry. By 2018, following multiple engagements with industry representatives, Kier saw an ownership deal that benefited the industry as SA Taxi’s next strategic move. Although there was an alignment among the company’s leadership on the need for and purpose of the deal, the transaction itself was far from clear. After consulting with internal and external stakeholders, Kier landed on three deal options. Kier and the company’s founders needed to agree on the best path forward.

  • April 2021
  • Case

Kitopi: The Brave New World of Cloud Kitchens

By: Antonio Moreno and Gamze Yucaoglu

The case opens in February 2021 as Mohamad Ballout, co-founder and CEO of Kitopi, a Dubai-based managed cloud kitchen platform, is looking over the company’s 2020 results. Propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, delivery orders had been on the rise globally and dine-in restaurants were more than ever focused on profitability. Against this backdrop, Kitopi had seen high traction in its business and the management needed to decide on which growth opportunities to focus. The case provides an overview of the pain points of the various players in the on-demand food ecosystem —the aggregators, the restaurants and the customers— and lays the ground for the nascent cloud kitchen business worldwide complete with the competitive outlook. The case also provides a detailed overview of how Kitopi structured its kitchens, how the company developed proprietary software to track space utilization and efficiency across its operations, and how it built it supply chain capabilities. While the B2B positioning of the company enables Kitopi to help restaurants expand much faster and in a less costly way, the company is mainly invisible to customers who don’t know that their food order is coming from a central kitchen. Also, the company has been witnessing the consolidation of aggregators across its markets. The case puts the reader in Ballout’s shoes, who wondered if the company could feasibly continue to own the supply side of the business and retain its position as a primarily B2B company without risking being squeezed out by the aggregators, who owned the customer relationship and data. Should the company focus on building on its currently small B2C arms, consider licensing it tech stack, or be squarely focused on its core business?

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Johannesburg Staff

Pippa Tubman Armerding
Executive Director
Dilyana Botha
Senior Researcher
Tafadzwa Choruma
Administrative, Research and Program Assistant

Lagos Staff

Wale Lawal
Senior Researcher