A preliminary assessment of Middle East investments in sub-Saharan Africa: insights from the mobile telecom sector

Nnamdi O. Madichie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This exploratory article highlights developments in the African (defined to include sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa) mobile telephony market. While observing the renewed pattern of foreign direct investment (FDI) from and to emerging markets in a value-added sector (mobile telecoms), this article uses a series of questions to profile the opportunities and challenges of mobile telephony in Nigeria and, by extension, Africa. Considering the exploratory nature of this article, it only presents a broad overview of the African telecom landscape, drawing largely upon secondary data. Despite its descriptive nature, the article is intended to spur further, more in-depth investigation into the FDI trends from and to emerging markets. Indeed, the recent appetite of Middle East telcos in Nigeria (and, by extension, Africa) provides an impetus for rethinking the subject of south-south cooperation in international business. Researchers and policymakers may benefit from some of these insights in the development of their international business strategies. Overall, the article argues that in order to derive any medium- to long-term opportunities in the African mobile telephony market, both existing and potential investors would need to ponder over a number of concerns and/or questions arising from this article-notably, what are the key drivers behind this growth? Who are the key players driving this pattern of investments? Why the renewed interest in Africa from Middle East telcos? How has the landscape changed in terms of innovation and value added?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-92
Number of pages14
JournalThunderbird International Business Review
Issue number1
Early online date22 Dec 2010
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


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