News & Highlights

  • October 2023

MBA Admissions Tours

Between September and October 2023, the ARC supported HBS admissions’ visit to the region. Jay Katatumba and Vai Schierholtz, both from MBA Admissions, hosted multiple in-person information sessions in Africa. The sessions were held in Abidjan, Accra, Cape Town, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, Kampala, and Nairobi. These events were designed for prospective MBA applicants to learn more about the MBA Program, life at HBS, and the post-MBA experience through the voices of alumni and other community members. The events gathered more than 100 attendees.
  • September 2023

How AI will change the World: “The implications for business and society stemming from the exponential progress of A.I”

In September, the Africa Research Center and the HBS Alumni Club of Kenya co-hosted Professor Shikhar Ghosh for an in-person event in Nairobi, Kenya. The event focused on the implications of the exponential progress of AI on business and society and was attended by over 60 HBS alumni and community members.
  • September 2023

Africa Advisory Board (AAB) Meeting

The Africa Advisory Board (AAB) guides the Africa Research Center in its strategy and provides feedback on HBS activities in the region and globally. In September, nine AAB members met physically in Nairobi, Kenya for the annual board meeting. We thank our advisory board members for their time and commitment to furthering Harvard Business School’s regional relationships.
  • May 2023

The Entrepreneurial Journey: Lessons from Keroche Breweries

On May 10, the Africa Research Center hosted Professor Ramon Casadesus-Masanell in Nairobi for an exclusive event on entrepreneurship, business model design, and new venture growth featuring lessons from Keroche Breweries. The session was inspired by Tabitha and Joseph Karanja's journey in the Kenyan alcoholic drinks industry, starting with their effort to provide low-income consumers with cheap and safe alternatives to informally brewed alcohol and culminating in Keroche's "big bet" entry into the Kenyan beer market. The event was co-hosted by the HBS Alumni Club of Kenya with nearly 70 alumni and community members attending the event.

New Research on the Region

  • January 2024
  • Teaching Material

Nigeria: Africa's Giant

Teaching Note for HBS Case No. 723-056.

  • December 2023
  • Article
  • Energy & Environmental Science

Advances in Power-to-Gas Technologies: Cost and Conversion Efficiency

By: Gunther Glenk, Philip Holler and Stefan Reichelstein

Widespread adoption of hydrogen as an energy carrier is widely believed to require continued advances in Power-to-Gas (PtG) technologies. Here we provide a comprehensive assessment of the dynamics of system prices and conversion efficiency for three currently prevalent PtG technologies: alkaline, polymer electrolyte membrane, and solid oxide cell electrolysis. We analyze global data points for system prices, energy consumption, and the cumulative installed capacity for each technology. Our regression results establish that, over the past two decades, every doubling of cumulative installed capacity resulted in system prices coming down by 14-17%, while the energy required for electrolysis was reduced by 2%. On the basis of multiple forecasts of future deployment growth, as well as policy and industry targets, our calculations project that all three technologies will become substantially cheaper and more energy-efficient in the coming decade. Specifically, the life-cycle cost of electrolytic hydrogen production is projected to fall in the range of $1.6-1.9/kg by 2030, thereby approaching but not reaching the $1.0/kg cost target set by the U.S. Department of Energy.

  • 2023
  • Working Paper

The Uneven Impact of Generative AI on Entrepreneurial Performance

By: Nicholas G. Otis, Rowan Clarke, Solène Delecourt, David Holtz and Rembrand Koning

There is a growing belief that scalable and low-cost AI assistance can improve firm decision-making and economic performance. However, running a business involves a myriad of open-ended problems, making it hard to generalize from recent studies showing that generative AI improves performance on well-defined writing tasks. In our five-month field experiment with 640 Kenyan entrepreneurs, we assessed the impact of AI-generated advice on small business revenues and profits. Participants were randomly assigned to a control group that received a standard business guide or to a treatment group that received a GPT-4 powered AI business mentor via WhatsApp. While we find no average treatment effect, this is because the causal effect of generative AI access varied with the baseline business performance of the entrepreneur: high performers benefited by just over 20% from AI advice, whereas low performers did roughly 10% worse with AI assistance. Exploratory analysis of the WhatsApp interaction logs shows that both groups sought the AI mentor’s advice, but that low performers did worse because they sought help on much more challenging business tasks. These findings highlight how the tasks selected by firms and entrepreneurs for AI assistance fundamentally shape who will benefit from generative AI.

See more research

Johannesburg Staff

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

Lagos Staff

Temitayo Lawal
Senior Researcher

Nairobi Staff

Kuria Kamau
Senior Researcher