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The strategic location of regional headquarters for multinationals in Africa: South Africa as a host country

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 06:31 authored by John Da Silva LuizJohn Da Silva Luiz, Busi Radebe
Multinational enterprises are aiming to strike a balance between local responsiveness and global integration. The establishment of regional offices allows multinational companies to have a local insight of the market, competition landscape and customer preferences. With such detailed insight, multinational companies are then able to formulate effective and responsive regional strategies. The importance and value of regional headquarters in the academic literature has generally focused on them in industrialized countries. The result is that we do not yet fully possess an overall framework for understanding how value and decisions are devolved, how location decisions are made and how their structures and strategies are evolving to accommodate the growth in emerging markets. The study examines the dominant criteria used by multinational enterprises to choose their locations for regional headquarters in Africa by examining South Africa as a host country for the continent. We find that the main criteria are linked to the advantages of agglomeration and the accompanying economies of scale, and a sound institutional framework which provides a predictable economic climate. In emerging markets which often suffer from institutional voids and thus higher country risk profiles, multinationals choose to locate in the environment which is most familiar to its home rules and use it as a springboard to do business in more ‘hostile’ milieus. The implications for managers looking to do business in Africa is to recognize that this is a continent still consolidating its transition to a sounder institutional environment. Given the unique business environment it will be a difficult region to manage successfully from centralized headquarters and thus using regional headquarters with local knowledge has real advantages.


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Ekonomika a management




Faculty of Business Administration, University of Economics, Prague





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