The changes implemented in 2021 have now become permanent. The 2023 edition will, therefore, also be characterized by the following:
- Online conference format: This manages travel issues and also dramatically lowers costs for attendees. Hybrid plenary sessions across venues may be warranted, if conditions allow.
- Multi-HBCU involvement: Following the initiative led by the Graves School of Business & Management at Morgan State University, we wish to expand engagement across the HBCU community in enhancing leadership of business and marketing scholarship regarding Africa. The Morgan/Howard scholarly partnership continues strong.
- Three “divisions” or programs to the conference: In addition to the Firm Strategy (firm-level research) and Consumer Marketing (consumer-level research), we also have a third division/program of Society & Institutions to capture macro-level research that addresses public policy and institutions intertwined with business and entrepreneurship development.
Online delivery of the last conference generated greater scholarly participation from the African continent and other parts of the world – and we will continue this format. Indeed, the 236 attendees at our 2021 conference were testament to this. The pan-HBCU scope in conference preparation further enhances reach and attractiveness of this conference. To be clear, though, submissions are invited from ALL academic institutions across the world, provided that the scholarship has an African focus.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic (starting 2020), African consumer and business spending was expected to grow beyond $4 trillion, with a striking demographic dividend indicated by a massive expected working-age population larger than either China or India by 2034, abundant resources, and fast-paced growth. While the recent pandemic caused a recessionary environment across the continent, it also created opportunities (and challenges) for entrepreneurship and small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Innovative solutions including products/services have been introduced in various countries across the continent - which may have far-reaching implications, in the long run, in Africa and across the globe.
The past decade has witnessed cross-fertilization of African-born entrepreneurship and innovation into other parts of the world, along with growth opportunities for MNCs and SMEs into Africa. The time is ripe for an updated showcase, biennially, of scholarly insights regarding international business in this still under-studied continent - including, and especially, insights and strategy/tactics that originated from Africa. This conference series marks a significant step toward creating a sustained effort among HBCUs - with Morgan leadership - to connect with Africa in business-related research at both the micro and macro level.
The term “Africapitalism”, coined by Tony Elumelu and the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), is meant to evoke economic transformation of Africa through African private sector and entrepreneurship. It is a conceptualization that is essentially and unapologetically Africa-centric, and fits well as the theme of a conference which is, in fact, Africa-centric. The interests of Africa, Africans and the entrepreneurial processes/innovations/paradigms created in Africa are at the very core of this 2023 conference, which aims to extend the perspective to successful, sustainable African international business – from one African country/location to the rest of Africa, or from Africa to the rest of the world.