Casebook of Indigenous Business Practices in Africa

ISBN: 978-1-80262-252-2, eISBN: 978-1-80262-251-5

Publication date: 16 August 2023


(2023), "Prelims", Adeola, O. (Ed.) Casebook of Indigenous Business Practices in Africa, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-xxi.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Ogechi Adeola. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited

Half Title Page

Casebook of Indigenous Business Practices in Africa


This unique collection of case studies across multiple sectors and regions in Africa presents a compelling resource for the advancement of indigenous knowledge and business practices on the continent. It provides an invaluable Africa context-specific resource to inform knowledge development about African businesses, ensure socio-economic advancement, preserve cultural heritage, achieve sustainability and enhance business decision-making.

Prof Nathaniel Boso, Dean of KNUST School of Business and O. R. Tambo Africa Research Chair in Entrepreneurship and Employability

Title Page

Casebook of Indigenous Business Practices in Africa: Apprenticeship, Craft, and Healthcare – Volume 1

Edited by

Ogechi Adeola

Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria; University of Kigali, Rwanda

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

Copyright Page

Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2023

Editorial matter and selection © 2023 Ogechi Adeola.

Individual chapters © 2023 The authors.

Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited.

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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-80262-252-2 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-80262-251-5 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-80262-253-9 (Epub)


To my precious Mum, Mrs Dorothy Okwanuzo Anumnu, aka Kwanis, who embodies the positive spirit of Africa – Vibrant, Vivacious, Valiant and Victorious – I dedicate this book. Thank you, Kwanis, for all you do effortlessly and gracefully – champion dancer, educationist, fashionista, friend and beautiful mother of eight.

About the Contributors

Nourhan Abdel Azim is a Business Marketing graduate from the American University in Cairo. She was involved in several student activities at AUC from leading creative teams to managing operations and marketing for large-scale events. Her work in marketing did not stop after graduating in Spring of 2020, but rather expanded to handling a diverse portfolio of clients, developing pitches and supervising content shoots as an account manager in several agencies.

Ogechi Adeola is a Professor of Marketing and the Head of Department of Operations, Marketing and Information Systems at the Lagos Business, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria. In addition, she serves as a member of the Governing Board of University of Kigali, Rwanda. Her multi-dimensional research focuses on advancing knowledge across the intersection of marketing, entrepreneurship, tourism and gender. Her co-authored articles won Best Paper Awards at international conferences for four consecutive years (2016–2019). She is a 2016 Visiting International Fellow, Open University Business School, UK, a 2017 Paul R. Lawrence Fellow, USA, and a recipient of the 2022 Female Achievers Recognition Award in Nigeria. She is the Editor of the 2020 book, ‘Indigenous African Enterprise – The Igbo Traditional Business School (I-TBS)’, published by Emerald Publishing Limited.

Isaiah Adisa is a management researcher and consultant based in Nigeria. He has co-edited book(s) and several other book chapters and journal articles in recognised outlets. His research interests cuts across human resources management, organizational behaviour, marketing, and gender studies. His consultancy experience spans education, IT and health sector. Isaiah was part of the Sector Master Plan Strategy (a team member of Tourism and Hospitality Industries Thematic Group – THITG) for the Nigeria Economic Summit Group. He is currently a Research Assistant at the Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria.

Seidu Alhassan is a Lecturer at Tamale Technical University, Tamale, Ghana. His current research interests include social media marketing, branding, political marketing, hospitality and tourism and service marketing. Alhassan holds an MPhil in Marketing, an MBA in Management, a Bachelor of Technology in Management and an HND in Accounting.

Charlie Carine Senan Bonou is a research analyst at Dataking Research Lab, a unit under Dataking Consulting. She is currently completing a Master in Economics at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (FASEG) of Benin National University (UAC). She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Banking & Finance option) from the University of Ghana Business School. Her research interests are in economics, finance and accounting issues in Africa.

Ngozi Ann Chikere is a PhD candidate of Management at University of Lagos, Akoka-Yaba, and also a lecturer at Augustine University, Ilara-Epe, both in Lagos State. She has published articles and book chapters in local and international journal outlets. Her interest areas are management and entrepreneurship. She is a team member of the Department of Business Administration that handles the skill acquisition programme for undergraduate students at Augustine University.

Mdhluli Tsetselelani Decide is an Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKSs) Senior lecturer at the University of Limpopo. She holds a Doctoral degree in Africa Studies, Master’s Degree in African Studies, Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education at the Durban University of Technology, (Hons) Degree in Gender Studies and BA in International Relations. She is an author in the following areas: Development studies, African philosophy, gender and IKS.

King Carl Tornam Duho, ACMA CGMA CA, is a finance and economic professional with many years of experience in the private sector, academia and public policy. He is an IMF Youth Fellow, Technical Advisor for Dataking Consulting and Honorary VP for Research and Innovation at VIT Centre for Policy and Education, a think tank aiming to enhance TVET impact in Africa. He has authored more than 15 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 20 policy papers. He is now a Research Professional at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Amaechi Kingsley Ekene is a part-time Lecturer in Sociology at the Department of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Venda. He is also an NRF-funded postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Youth and Gender Studies at the same university. His research is centred on indigenous entrepreneurship models, small and medium-sized enterprises, religions organisations, theories of violence and social movement theory.

Prisca Chidiogor Ezekafor is a diligent and success-driven graduate of Business Administration from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. She has been able to demonstrate her professional skills, which she has acquired through various leadership and volunteering experiences. Prisca has recently developed an interest in Information Technology, specifically Cyber Security and Application Support. Her openness to continuous learning makes Research another area of interest. She has a strong desire to impact those around her and the Nigerian Community positively.

Konjit Hailu Gudeta, PhD, is a Researcher at Maastricht University in the Faculty of Arts and Social Studies, the Netherlands, and an Assistant Professor at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. She received her PhD from the Department of Human Resources Studies at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. Her research interests include women entrepreneurship, saving groups, work–life interface, boundary management, decent work and well-being.

Atsede Tesfaye Hailemariam, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the School of Commerce, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. She holds a PhD from Tilburg University, the Netherlands. Her research focusses on women entrepreneurship development and policy in Ethiopia, such as women's entrepreneurial motivations, access to finance and their interest and orientation towards business growth.

Oserere Ibelegbu is a Management Scholar Academy-Research Assistant at Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria. She obtained a master's degree in Information Science and a bachelor's degree in Economics, both from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She has academic publications (journal and book chapter contributions in the areas of, consumer behaviour, customer service and service quality, digital technologies, informal economy, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and tourism, among others. Her current area of interest spans customers' reactions or responses to emerging technologies such as AI-induced service robots.

Chioma Dilichukwu Ifeanyichukwu, PhD, is a Lecturer in the Department of Marketing, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria, with an academic career that spans over a decade. Her teaching and research interests include entrepreneurship, services marketing and marketing communication strategies. She is an associate member of several professional bodies: Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria, the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, amongst others and has authored several articles and book chapters in high-impact journals.

Mary Wanjiru Njoroge – Kinoti is an Associate Professor of Marketing and acting Director, Intellectual Property Management Office and the Coordinator, Nairobi Innovation Week, University of Nairobi. Her research interests are mainstreaming green marketing and customer care in public institutions, and among micro, small and medium enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa.

John Paul Basewe Kosiba is a Lecturer in the Marketing Department at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA). He is also a doctoral student at the University of Free State Business School. His research focusses on branding, consumer behaviour, internet communication, social responsibility and business ethics in sub-Saharan Africa. In the field of academia, he has taught Marketing, Management and Research-based courses.

Mohammed Majeed is a Lecturer (PhD) at Tamale Technical University, Tamale-Ghana. His current research interest includes branding, hospitality and tourism, and social media in service organisations. Majeed holds a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), MPhil and MBA Marketing, Postgraduate Diploma and HND Marketing. He lectures part-time in many Ghanaian public universities and is a reviewer for many journals in management, hospitality and marketing. Majeed has also published in good journals such as the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights (Emerald) and Cogent Business & Management (Taylor & Francis).

Beatrice Matiri – Maisori is a holder of a PhD in International Business from University of International Business and Economics, Beijing (China), an MBA (University of Nairobi) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Kenyatta University – Kenya). Beatrice brings forth more than 20 years experience in international business and trade, entrepreneurship and innovation, sustainability initiatives, market entry, business development and global value chains across the Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa and Middle East regions. She is a practising business executive and entrepreneurship and innovation coach, a Market Entry and International Business Development Consultant and an accomplished professor of Entrepreneurship and International Business. Beatrice's research interests are in Chinese Foreign Direct Investments in Africa, International Business strategy, growing Global Value Chains, Entrepreneurship and building Sustainability.

Abel Kinoti Meru is an Associate Professor of Business Management, Past Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, the founding Dean, Riara School of Business, Riara University, Kenya, and the first Chair of the Academy of International Business Africa chapter. His research interests include social innovation and business incubation, entrepreneurship and marketing.

Uchenna David Nwoye holds a BSc in Business Administration from the University of Lagos, Nigeria; First Class Division. Being versatile and knowledge-driven, he also has training certifications in Data Analysis and Corporate Finance, demonstrating knowledge through internships, industrial training and volunteering experience. He is working towards obtaining a professional certification as an Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), which stems from his interest in Audit, Financial Management and Corporate Finance.

Emmanuel Elijah Ogbu is an independent researcher with a focus on but not limited to health and economic research. He obtained his first and second degrees in Social Work and Sociology and Anthropology from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria. He has completed a master's degree in Sociology with a focus on Medical Sociology at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is currently enroled in a PhD programme at the same University. He currently lectures at Atiba University, Oyo, Nigeria.

Ashraf Mohamed Sheta is the CEO and founder of AS for consultancy and training; he is also working as an Adjunct Assistant Professor for Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation at the American University. Dr Sheta is the winner of the teaching excellence award for the academic year 2015–2016 and also a certificate of excellence in performance from the AUC executive education for the years 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He is the winner of the silver award, Stellar Teaching and Activities Recognition (STAR), for the academic year 2019. He is the winner of the European Foundation for Management Development award EFMD 2019 for teaching cases in the field of Family business. He developed and delivered new courses for the first time in Egypt, including Family business, Innovation and technology, Corporate entrepreneurship and Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset.

Kugara Stewart Lee is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Limpopo and a former Senior Lecturer at the University of Venda and Monash University (IIE SA). He is an interdisciplinary, intradisciplinary and multidisciplinary author with academic publications straddling the following areas: Indigenous knowledge systems, oral history, traditional leadership, knowledge management, African conflicts management, human rights, indigenous law and heritage studies. He possesses excellent experience in mediation, research and community engagement.

Tsoaledi Daniel Thobejane is an Associate Professor within the faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education at the University of Venda. He is the coordinator of the Gender studies unit of the Department of Gender and Youth Studies at the same faculty. He is currently carrying out research on gender, patriarchal relations and education. He holds a doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master of Science degree from the Southern New Hampshire University (USA).

Ahmed Tijani works at Minerals Commission, Ghana. His research interests are corporate governance, relationship marketing, development communication and extractive industry's policy, regulation and management. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Professional Studies and holds an MBA in corporate governance, a BSc in banking and finance and an HND in marketing.

Chiebuka Uzoebo is a Plant Geneticist and Molecular Biologist working on genotyping cancer and cardiovascular disease. He has a master's in Plant Genetics and Molecular Biology from the University of Ibadan. He is also a Health and Safety Personnel. His research interests are in molecular pathology and drug mechanism.

Joana Akweley Zanu is a Senior Lecturer (PhD) at Tamale Technical University, Tamale Ghana, and currently the Dean, Faculty of Creative Arts and Technology. Dr Joana holds a PhD in Fashion Education and Management, an MEd in Home Economics (Clothing and Textiles option), a BEd in Fashion and Tailoring and an HND in Fashion Design and Tailoring and Fashion Advance. Her research area includes Sustainable Garment, Sustainable Clothing care and maintenance and Sustainable Textiles production. She has published in reputable international journals like International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Research and International Journal of Innovative Research and Development.

List of Contributors

Ogechi Adeola Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria; University of Kigali, Rwanda
Isaiah Adisa Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria
Seidu Alhassan Tamale Technical University, Ghana
Nourhan Abdel Azim American University in Cairo, Egypt
John Paul Basewe Kosiba University of Professional Studies, Ghana
Carine Charlie Senan Bonou Dataking Consulting, Ghana
Ngozi Ann Chikere Augustine University Ilara-Epe, Nigeria
Mdhluli Tsetselelani Decide University of Limpopo, South Africa
King Carl Tornam Duho Dataking Consulting, Ghana
Amaechi Kingsley Ekene University of Venda, South Africa
Prisca Chidiogor Ezekafor University of Lagos, Nigeria
Konjit Hailu Gudeta Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
Atsede Tesfaye Hailemariam Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
Oserere Ibelegbu Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria
Chioma Ifeanyichukwu Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria
Kugara Stewart Lee University of Limpopo, South Africa
Mohammed Majeed Tamale Technical University, Ghana
Beatrice Matiri – Maisori Riara University, Kenya
Abel Kinoti Meru Riara University, Kenya
Sekgothe Mokgoatšana University of Limpopo, South Africa
Mary Wanjiru Njoroge – Kinoti University of Nairobi, Kenya
Uchenna David Nwoye University of Lagos, Nigeria
Emmanuel Ogbu University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Chiebuka Uzoebe Prince University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Ashraf Sheta American University in Cairo, Egypt
Tsoaledi Daniel Thobejane University of Venda, South Africa
Ahmed Tijani Minerals Commission, Ghana
Joana Akweley Zanu Tamale Technical University, Ghana


Africa must unite. We have before us not only an opportunity but a historical duty. It is in our hands to join our strengths, taking sustenance from our diversity, honouring our rich and varied traditions and culture but acting together for the protection and benefit of us all.

Kwame Nkrumah, first Prime Minister of Ghana (1957–1960) and first President of Ghana (1960–1966)

Africa has historically boasted of indigenous business practices; however, studies are yet to fully explore the dynamics of these practices for the benefit of business actors. The continent's indigenous institutions established in pre-colonial societies provided the foundation for business operations within and across cultures, governance and structure. Entrepreneurship and enterprise development are drivers of economic performance and improved living standards when they fit into the social and economic context. Therefore, it is logical that African nations seeking social and economic development should encourage entrepreneurial practices that suit their cultural, social and institutional realities. Despite studies on the African business culture, several nations across the continent are yet to develop a comprehensive framework for sustainable entrepreneurship based on indigenous practices.

Interestingly, there are homegrown businesses in Africa achieving remarkable success but are not given the recognition they deserve. Simultaneously, the small- and medium-scale enterprises applying Western business practices and management principles find it difficult to survive in the very challenging and dynamic African business environment. Perhaps it is time to consider indigenous strategies and ways to codify success factors premised on the peculiarities of the environment. This book offers cases on indigenous business practices in Africa with the aim of providing business actors with insights into what makes entrepreneurship work on the continent.

Though there are opportunities for business growth in Africa, their concomitant challenges must be addressed. Despite the adoption of western management practices by entrepreneurs and small-scale businesses in Africa, their success rate is of great concern. It is time to consider, integrate or scale up age-old practices indigenous to Africa. For instance, the indigenous business system of the Igbos of South-East Nigeria thrives on a mutual-aid economy in which successful entrepreneurs within clans develop others by providing start-up capital and the required business tutelage. The Igbo business incubation system and other unique models discussed in this book support entrepreneurs through an Africa-centric approach to business that is built on cultural practices, norms and values.

Every fledgling business must align itself with the peculiarities of its environment if it expects to become successful. In Africa, indigenous business enterprises that have applied homegrown strategies to their operations have achieved remarkable success. The aim of this two-volume edited work is to enhance understanding of how indigenous enterprises in Africa's varying countries and regions have built and sustained their business performance, through case study research. Contributors' case studies document the distinct business attributes across the five regions of the continent (North, East, Central, West and Southern Africa). Volume 1 focuses on Apprenticeship, Craft and Healthcare, while Volume 2 offers insights into Trade, Production and Financial Services. Volume 1 covers the following:

  • Exploration of Apprenticeship and Business Succession Models in Nigeria, Ghana and the Benin Republic: A Cross-Case Analysis of Selected Tribes

  • Apprentice training, Mastership and Managerial Development of the Igbo Entrepreneurs in Nigeria

  • Case Studies on Business Ethics and Values: Insights from the Igbos of Southeastern Nigeria

  • The Cultural and Creative Industries in Ethiopia : A Case of Cultural Lifestyle Items Producer

  • Reviving and Sustaining Market Opportunities in an Indigenous Business Practice in Egypt: A Case of the Kiliim – A Social Enterprise and Lifestyle Brand

  • An Examination of Indigenous Business Incubators with Emphasis on the Kente Weaving Industry in Ghana

  • Cultural and Socioeconomic Impact of the Indigenous Garment Industry: A Case of Smock Dealership in Tamale, Ghana

  • Placing Indigenous Knowledge at the Core of Production and Marketing of Medicinal Plant (mpesu) in Zimbabwe and South Africa

  • African Indigenous Entrepreneurship: A Relook at Africa's Traditional Healthcare Practice Among Tsonga Speaking People in Limpopo Province, South Africa

  • Sustaining the Trade Ingenuity of Female Herbal Producers (FHPs) in Southwest Nigeria: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • The Somali Business Orientation: Key Lessons and Recommendations for Africa from the Kenyan Somali practice

  • Advancing Indigenous Knowledge and Building Sustainable Business Structures in Africa

Despite the increased theoretical discussions on African enterprises, limited empirical research into entrepreneurial practices is available to students, practitioners and business leaders or decision-makers. This book addresses this gap with case studies focused on Africa's culture-based indigenous business practices. Insights from these cases incorporate recommendations for business success in Africa and advance scholarship into indigenous practices. This book will be of benefit to scholars and educators from diverse disciplines, business actors and entrepreneurs interested in developing business frameworks grounded in Africa's unique and varying indigenous practices.


The editor acknowledges all the authors who embarked on this journey with her to document the indigenous processes, practices and business heritage across Africa, for posterity and to portray the uniqueness of the continent's indigenous enterprises. Thank you for this critical step towards establishing Africa-centric business models through the identification of traditional prototypes and sustainable practices embedded in culture, norms and values.

Chapter 1 Introduction: A Casebook of Indigenous Business Practices in Africa
Part 1 Apprenticeship Models and Practices
Chapter 2 Exploration of Apprenticeship and Business Succession Models in Nigeria, Ghana and the Benin Republic: A Cross-Case Analysis of Selected Ethnic Groups
Chapter 3 Apprentice Training, Mastership and Managerial Development of the Igbo Entrepreneurs in Nigeria
Chapter 4 Case Studies on Business Ethics and Values: Insights From the Southeastern Igbos of Nigeria
Part 2 Indigenous Craft Enterprises
Chapter 5 The Cultural and Creative Industries in Ethiopia: A Case of Cultural Lifestyle Items Producer
Chapter 6 Market Revival and Sustainability: Lessons for Business Actors From the Case of Kiliim Social Enterprise, Egypt
Chapter 7 An Examination of Indigenous Business Incubators: A Case of Kente Weaving Industry in Ghana
Chapter 8 Cultural and Socio-Economic Impact of the Indigenous Garment Industry: A Case of Smock Dealership in Tamale, Ghana
Part 3 Healthcare
Chapter 9 Placing Indigenous Knowledge at the Core of Production and Marketing of Medicinal Plant (Mpesu) in Zimbabwe and South Africa
Chapter 10 Indigenous African Healing Practices as a Resource for Entrepreneurial Promotion: Insights From Tsonga Traditional Health Care System in South Africa
Chapter 11 Sustaining the Trade Ingenuity of Female Herbal Producers (FHPs) in Southwest Nigeria: Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic
Part 4 Conclusions and Recommendations
Chapter 12 The Somali Business Orientation: Key Lessons and Recommendations for Africa From the Kenyan Somali Practice
Chapter 13 Advancing Indigenous Knowledge and Building Sustainable Business Structures in Africa