Africa Initiative | IESE Business School

IESE Africa Initiative

Developing sustainable business leadership in Africa

IESE’s Africa Initiative has a clear mission: to help develop sustainable business leadership in Africa in order to have a positive and lasting impact on African society.

We contribute toward this mission by creating and disseminating relevant business knowledge related to Africa, by promoting exchange initiatives and by supporting our network of associated business schools in the continent.


Lines of action

  • Develop relevant and accessible research, academic materials and programs on business and leadership in Africa
  • Support our associated business schools. We promote joint events for our alumni and academic activities such as program design, case writing, teaching and faculty development with African professors and PhDs
  • Promote exchange activities. We offer IESE programs and modules on the continent, as well as opportunities for students in partner schools to study at IESE
  • Foster relationships among our alumni community, business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors with interest or experience on the continent
  • Organize events showcasing to the world that Africa has indeed become a growth opportunity that should feature in their strategies
  • Support the creation of startups with impact on Africa






Research documents, working papers and business cases



Alumni working across the continent



Students in exchange modules per year

Programs and events

Every year, more than 180 IESE MBA and Executive MBA students travel to Nairobi for elective experiences in their programs. We also offer other programs focused on the region.

  • IESE MBA overseas module in Nairobi. During their second year, IESE MBA students can choose to take one or two week modules at diverse locations around the world. In Nairobi, at Strathmore Business School, the module takes place on a yearly basis, in January. The courses offered are: Doing Business in Africa, New Realities, Immersion and Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in Africa. They are led by both IESE and Strathmore faculty members. The first week focuses on academic content, while during the second week, students will have the opportunity to work in small teams together with local business leaders on a project, helping to solve problems that Kenyan companies are facing.
  • IESE Executive MBA overseas module in Nairobi. IESE EMBA students can choose to take a one or more week module at diverse locations around the world, including one in Nairobi, at Strathmore Business School. An intensive and highly impactful experience, this overseas module gives our students an unparalleled insight into the African business environment and culture.


Every year IESE’s Barcelona and Madrid campuses welcome more than 300 African participants from our associated schools. Modules include:

  • Pan African Executive MBA Module (Strathmore and Lagos Business Schools) in Barcelona
  • Advanced Management Program (MDE Business School, Ivory Coast) in Barcelona
  • Program for Management Development (MDE Business School, Ivory Coast) in Barcelona
  • Advanced Management Program (Strathmore Business School, Kenya) in Barcelona
  • Senior Management Leadership Program (Strathmore Business School, Kenya) in Barcelona

MBA Africa Club. Provides students interested in Africa with the opportunity to educate themselves about the scope, nature and nuances of business in the continent.


The African Energy Sector: Challenges, Opportunities & Future Paths

The African Energy Sector: Challenges, Opportunities & Future Paths

A novel program to examine the unique realities of the African energy sector and explore alternatives and opportunities for impact investment.

Learn more
Eghosa Oriaikhi Mabhena, CEO of Puma Energy Africa, believes in taking chances

Eghosa Oriaikhi Mabhena, CEO of Puma Energy Africa, believes in taking chances

Oriaikhi Mabhena, IESE Global Executive MBA '13, oversees Puma Energy’s operations in 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more

Research and thought leadership


IESE INSIGHT, (2015). Ebola: Managing to Save Lives. Two experts on Ebola discuss the importance of preparedness, rapid response, coordination and community engagement in the management of a crisis of global proportions. IESE Insight(24), pp. 67 – 71.


MUDIDA, R., LAGO, A. (2015). Five Pillars for Doing Business in Africa. A Road Map to Opportunities. IESE Insight(24), pp. 15 – 23.


ARIÑO, A. (2015). Strategies That Go the Distance in Africa. Crossing the Divides. IESE Insight(24), pp. 24 – 31.


OVADJE, F. (2015). What Kind of Leader Will Thrive in Africa?. Putting Success in Context. IESE Insight(24), pp. 32 – 39.


IESE INSIGHT, (2013). Vodafone Ghana: Are Profits Just a Call Away?. Focus on Big Picture: Data; Rise to the Challenge; Invest in Entrepreneurship. IESE Insight(18), pp. 64 – 68.



MARTÍ, G., PELIZAN, L., RAHNEMA ALAVI, A. (2021). The Sub-Saharan Africa Energy Sector: An Overview. IESE, OP-626-E.


LETICIA PELIZAN,, GIORDANO, P., LICKTEIG, L., RAHNEMA ALAVI, A. (2019). Promoting Access to Clean Cooking Fuels in Subsaharian Africa Through Entrepreneurial Initiative: Challenges and Strategies.. IESE, OP-312-E.


PELIZAN, L., RAHNEMA ALAVI, A. (2019). The Cooking Fuel Sector in Ghana. IESE, OP-321-E.


PELIZAN, L., RAHNEMA ALAVI, A., MARTÍ, G. (2019). Overview of Ghana’s Fertilizer Sector. IESE, OP-323-E.


PELIZAN, L., RAHNEMA ALAVI, A., LICKTEIG, L. (2019). Solar Home Solutions Using a Pay-As-You-Go Model in Ghana: Exploring the Opportunity. IESE, OP-319-E.


PELIZAN, L., LICKTEIG, L., MARTÍ, G. (2019). Pay-As-You-Go for LPG Supply – Exploring a New Business Model to Enhance Access to Clean Cooking Solutions in Urban Areas in Ghana. IESE, OP-318-E


PELIZAN, L., LICKTEIG, L. (2019). Biofuel Production in Ghana: Exploring the Opportunity. OP-320-E.


PELIZAN, L., KARL D. FIEVE, J., LICKTEIG, L. (2019). Overview of the Power Sector in Ghana. OP-322-E.


PAOLA GIORDANO, LETICIA PELIZAN, RAHNEMA ALAVI, A. (2018). Pay-As-You-Go: Unlocking Access to Energy Services in Sub-Saharan Africa. A Disruptive Business Model Leveraging Mobile Technology to Finance Energy Services for the Bottom of the Pyramid. IESE, OP-303-E.



EUFINGER, C. (2018). Could Crowdfunding Be Right for Your Business?. Alternative Financing. IESE Insight(38), pp. 22 – 29.


RAHNEMA ALAVI, A. (2016). Check Your Biases. Africa’s energy debates can generate more heat than light. Follow this advice for a light-bulb moment.. IESE Insight.


ARGANDOÑA, A. (2015). Renew Your Mind. IESE Insight.



BERWART, A., LAGO A., A. (2020). African Markets and Consumers. IESE, PN-509-E.



BARCELONA, R. G., RONOH, G., TCHÓRZEWSKA, K. B. (2019). Kenya’s Imperfect Fuel Market: Tackling Real Problems With Real Solutions(WP-1200-E). Barcelona: IESE.


GIORDANO, P., ASSOGBA, M., RAHNEMA ALAVI, A. (2018). Accelerating the Green Revolution in Cote d’Ivoire: Fertilizers Against Undernourishment and Deforestation(WP-1204-E). Barcelona: IESE.


PELIZAN PAVLAK, L., SEDJI, S.-I. H., RAHNEMA ALAVI, A. (2018). Powering Côte d’Ivoire. Understanding The Landscape And Exploring Possibilities For Investment(WP-1205-E). Barcelona: IESE.


RAHNEMA ALAVI, A., SANCHEZ, F., SEDJI, S.-I. (2018). Fuel Industry for Road Transportation in Côte D’ivoire(WP-1206-E). Barcelona: IESE.


RAHNEMA ALAVI, A., SANCHEZ, F., KERUBO, L. (2017). Powering Kenya: Understanding the Landscape and Exploring Possibilities for Investments(WP-1180-E). Barcelona: IESE.


RAHNEMA ALAVI, A., GIORDANO, P., OTIENO, I. (2017). Growing Kenya: Exploring Investment Opportunities in Kenya’s Fertilizer Industry(WP-1173-E). Barcelona: IESE.


N’GUESSAN, M. N., ALEGRE, I., CANELA, M. Á. (2017). Crowdfunding In Africa. An Empirical Study Of Kiva Platform Users In Sub-Saharan Africa(WP-1172-E). Barcelona: IESE.


RAHNEMA ALAVI, A., SANCHEZ, F., GIORDANO, P. (2017). Alternative Cooking Fuels in Kenya: How Can Household Decision-making Be Impacted?(WP-1177-E). Barcelona: IESE.


IBARRA GARZA, A., CUGUERÓ-ESCOFET, N., CANELA, M. Á. (2017). Prosocial Crowdlending in Kenya(WP-1166-E). Barcelona: IESE.




LEE, Y.-T., REICHE, S. (2022). Uwa Ode: Embracing Life and Career across Cultures. IESE, DPO-760-E.


PELIZAN PAVLAK, L., RAHNEMA ALAVI, A., MARTÍ, G. (2021). Ignite Power in Rwanda. Electric Power on a Different Scale…for All? IESE, OP-625-E.


PELIZAN, L., RAHNEMA ALAVI, A. (2019). Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Électricité: Delivering Electricity for All. IESE, OP-314-E.


N’GUESSAN, M. N., ALEGRE, I., CANELA, M. Á. (2019). HR Analytics at Barney. IESE, AD-369-E.


MUNGAI, E., RAHNEMA ALAVI, A. (2018). Public Private Policy Change Engagement: Consumer Choice Limited. IESE, E-189-E.


MORENO, VICTORIA; DE ZULOAGA, JON. (2017) Green Resources: Making Money with Sustainability. IESE, SM-1655-E.


PLANA OLÍAS, A., VACCARO, A., RAMUS, T. (2017). The Indego Africa Project (A). Genesis and launch of a competitive social enterprise. IESE, BE-203-E.


PLANA OLÍAS, A., VACCARO, A., RAMUS, T. (2017). The Indego Africa Project (B). Genesis and launch of a competitive social enterprise. IESE, BE-204-E.


DELONCA, E., BRION, S. (2017). A Sacred Spirits Dilemma (A). IESE, DPO-399-E.


DELONCA, E., BRION, S. (2017). A Sacred Spirits Dilemma (B). IESE, DPO-400-E.


ROSENMÖLLER, M., GAGO, F., JAISWAL, N. (2017). CISM – Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça Manhiça Health Research Centre. Managing Research & Development. IESE, P-1149-E.


MAZZACANI, G. M., LAGO, A. (2017). Equitel: The Battle for Mobile Money in Kenya. IESE, P-1153-E.


NTOI, H., THOMAS, L., VILÀ, J. (2016). The Managerial Dilemma of E-Toll Route Implementation in South Africa. IESE, SM-1643-E.


ARIÑO, A., TATARINOV, K. (2016). Innovis Telecom: Entrepreneurial Internationalization. IESE, SM-1627-E.


VACCARO, A., RAMUS, T. (2015). Samasource. IESE, BE-195-E.


SIEBER, S., LAGO, A., GO, T. (2014). M-Pesa – Mobile Banking in Kenya. IESE, SI-192-E.


LEE, Y.-T., REICHE, S. (2013). Uwa Ode. A Cultural Chameleon or Stranded between Cultural Chairs? IESE, DPO-281-E.


NUENO, P., AKUA AFFUL-KWAW, P. (2012). Vodafone Ghana. IESE, E-153-E.


VERGARA, C., GUTÉS, J. D. (2012). Mara Tower in Naïrobi Kenya. IESE, F-875-E.





Lagos Business School (LBS) case collection can be found here.


Strathmore Business School (SBS) case collection can be found here.


MDE Business School (MDE) cases:

  • N’Guessan, Marie Noelle (2014). INECTO. MDE, M-01-F
  • Olaye, Ernest (2014). KOFFI YAO. MDE, DA-001-F
  • Soumahoro, Mory. PAUL IVOIRE. MDE
  • Olaye, Ernest (2016). SNC-CI. MDE, DA-002-F
  • Anoh, Léonce. TISA. MDE, MO-001-F

Fuel Freedom Chair for Energy and Social Development

This chair, held by Prof. Ahmad Rahnema, leads research projects in Africa in partnership with associated business schools in order to deliver programs to mitigate energy poverty and to increase access to affordable fuels. The Chair is currently developing projects in Ethiopia and Ghana and has already worked in Kenya and the Ivory Coast.


Initiative Director

Initiative Committee

Initiative Committee

Initiative Committee

Associated schools

Our associated business schools are a valuable source of expertise and local knowledge on how to do business on the continent.


A 20+ year-long involvement on the continent

Internationalization has been one of the key characteristics of IESE since its founding in 1958. IESE’s participants, research and faculty have always had strong international components. Over the years, IESE itself has developed internationally, expanding to Brazil, Germany and the United States, among other locations.

In addition to its own organic growth, IESE has contributed to the creation and development of 18 other business schools throughout the world.

Initially, such associated business schools were mostly created in Latin America due to obvious reasons of culture and language, but over the past two decades, IESE has put significant emphasis on Africa. Some highlights:

  • In 1991 IESE was instrumental in the launch and subsequent development of Lagos Business School in Nigeria. Then, around 2000, IESE started cooperating with Nile University in Cairo, Egypt.
  • In 2005, IESE helped launch Strathmore Business School within the preexisting, prestigious Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • In 2008AESE Business School (Lisbon, Portugal) together with FACIDE (an Angolan association of executives) launched the Angola School of Management (ASM). IESE was also invited to participate in this effort, which was largely driven from Lisbon.
  • In 2009, after offering some short seminars to test the waters, IESE helped IHE-Afrique to launch MDE Business School in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. It was then decided to launch a long executive education program and eventually the first AMP started in February 2011.
  • Due the increasing activity of IESE faculty in these kinds of projects, IESE decided to create the IESE Africa Initiative in September 2009 in order to enhance the commitment of the school to the education of the next generation of African business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Since then, we have offered different programs and modules abroad to our students and to students of our partner institutions; helped to train faculty from our associated schools; developed research and academic material focused on the continent’s bursting business reality; and created a community of business leaders  committed to having a positive and lasting impact on African society.