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Emerging African businesses

Entreprises de l'Afrique en émergence

Revue « Gérer & Comprendre »

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Published on Thursday, November 05, 2020


Une littérature abondante a traité des freins au développement de l’Afrique. Plus récemment, de nouveaux courants de recherche ont tenté de promouvoir une vision plus positive des potentialités économiques de ce continent. Il ne s’agit pas de nier les nombreux obstacles à la prospérité qu’on y rencontre, mais de montrer comment des firmes « enracinées », « agiles » conduites par de bons connaisseurs du contexte africain, qu’il soit institutionnel, social, culturel ou politique, parviennent à développer malgré tout des entreprises rentables et en croissance.


A series of Annales des Mines,classified in General Management and in Sociology.


The literature has abundantly dealt with the obstacles to Africa's development. Most re- cently, new areas of research have tried to further a more positive vision of the economic potential of this continent. This is not to deny the many obstacles to prosperity, but to show how "deep-rooted" and "agile" firms led by good experts in the African context, whether institutional, social, cultural or political, manage to develop into profitable and growing busi- nesses.

  • How exactly do these leaders do it? This is a question that the work we wish to publish in this special issue can shed light on by presenting the journeys of African entrepreneurs, the stories of companies created on this continent, and by providing details on business practices, corporate governance, and management arrangements that succeed (or fail) in these difficult contexts.
  • The question of mixing local ways of acting with imported techniques and standards must be addressed. How to distinguish useful imports which play a positive role for the growth of companies from the imports which are a deadlock? How to distinguish between those that contribute to the human development of the country and those that hinder it?
  • There are more and more cooperation programs between European and African business schools, but what should be taught? What relevant and adapted teaching material is available? How can knowledge be created when empirical research on local businesses is limited?
  • Major international consulting firms and organizations, such as the IMF and the World Bank, are diagnosing and prescribing solutions for Africa, but is their advice standing the test of time? Who follows up on their prescriptions and for what results?

These are the questions we would like to explore in greater depth in the special issue devoted to emerging African businesses.

Without excluding works on start-ups, the informal economy, and social economy busi- nesses, our interest will mainly focus on locally-founded companies, rapidly expanding or in the process of South-South internationalization.

North-South international joint ventures and African subsidiaries of European, American, Indian, or Chinese multinationals could also be studied, since we know that the scope and ownership of companies are ever changing. What appeared to be a local company can become an internationalized company in a few weeks. Conversely, a company created within a colonial or neo-colonial context can become a local company again.

Whether it concerns shareholdings, relations with public authorities, inter-company relations, accounting, tax and financial practices, manufacturing, sales and innovation techniques, or even employee relations, we will seek to analyze practices and describe them as they are, without prejudicing on what they should be and without evaluating them with reference to foreign standards or norms promoted by international organizations.

We will insist on the need to contextualize research, concepts and theories, to promote work on Africa carried out by Africans, to adapt methods deployed in the field, and above all to banish "off-ground" research in order to avoid what Voltaire called "admirably inferred falsehoods" (Lettres Philosophiques XXV, 1734), and that we could call inaccurate answers to real problems.

Editors of the special issue

  • Michel Berry, École de Paris du Management
  • Françoise Chevalier, Professor, HEC Paris
  • Michel Villette, Professor, AgroParisTech

Conditions of edition

Submitted articles will be pre-screened by the editors of the special issue before being sub- mitted – as for any articles of the journal – to an anonymous review by two reviewers. Each decision communicated to the authors will have been discussed collectively by the editorial board. It will be systematically substantiated, with the help of the reviewers' reports. The authors will receive a decision under one of the four following categories:

  • Accepted for publication (possibly with some minor corrections).
  • Request for a second version (major revisions needed) and then, possibly, for
  • a third one.
  • Rejected paper with encouragement to resubmit.
  • Rejected paper.

Submissions1,000-character abstract.

The special issue will include a maximum total of five articles, depending on the number of accepted articles. Additional articles may be published at a later date, if accepted.

Key dates

  • Submission deadline: June 30, 2021
  • Deadline of the reviewing process: October 2021
  • Revised articles reviewed by: January 2022
  • Special issue published in: 2022

Submissions should be sent via email in Word format to: < alexia.kappelmann@finances.gouv.fr> should be approximately 40,000 characters in length, accompanied by a

Gérer & Comprendre is entirely available and free of charge to consult

Some references

  • Berry M. (1983), « Une technologie invisible - L’impact des instruments de gestion sur l’évolution des systèmes humains. ». Consultable gratuitement sur HAL : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00263141/document
  • Chevalier F. & Kamdem E. (2019), "Field Research and Grounded Theory: An Ave- nue for Future Research in Africa" in Advancing African Knowledge Management and Education, H. Kazeroony, A. Stachowicz-Stanusch, & W. Amann (Eds), Infor- mation Age Publishing, USA, pp. 81-98.
  • Dumez H. (2016), Méthodologie de la recherche qualitative. Les questions clés de la démarche compréhensive. Paris, Vuibert, 256 pages. ISBN : 978-2-311-40298-8.
  • Girin J. (1990), « L’analyse empirique des situations de gestion : éléments de théorie et de méthode », in Martinet A.- C. (dir.), Épistémologies et sciences de gestion, Paris, Economica, p. 141-181.
  • Kamdem E., Chevalier F. & Payaud M. (2020), La recherche enracinée en management: contextes nouveaux et perspectives nouvelles en Afrique. Paris, Éditions EMS.
  • Schuerkens U., Branine M. & Mamman A. (2019), Pour une sociologie du management en Afrique et dans le Monde Arabe. Paris, L’Harmattan.
  • Villette M. (2010), « Pour une sociologie de l’activité au travail des dirigeants de grandes entreprises », BMS – Bulletin of Sociological Methodology, New York: Sage Publications, London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi. N° 107. Consultable gratuitement sur HAL : <https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01395669/document


  • Paris, France (75)


  • Tuesday, June 29, 2021


  • Afrique, pays arabes, entreprise, ethnographie d'entreprise, étude de cas, biographie, entrepreneur, histoire d'entreprise


  • Michel Villette
    courriel : michel [dot] villette [at] icloud [dot] com
  • Alexia Kappelmann
    courriel : alexia [dot] kappelmann [at] finances [dot] gouv [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Michel Villette
    courriel : michel [dot] villette [at] icloud [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Emerging African businesses », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, November 05, 2020, https://doi.org/10.58079/15i7

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