Dunning Africa Centre

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Africa statement


The Dunning Africa Centre (DAC) is the hub for Africa-related research of the John H Dunning Centre for International Business, at Henley Business School in the UK. The centre, which was established in 2021 by Henley Business School, aims to:

  • Lead the way in fostering academic research in international business by collaborating with the best and brightest minds in business, academia and the policymaking community.

  • Address Africa-specific challenges in building up scientific capacity relating to the study of international business across African universities and business schools.
  • Run international business clinics that offer practical advice and support to African organisations that are new to cross-border investment, exporting and importing, in collaboration with our sister centres in Europe (The Dunning Centre Europe), and the UK.

  • Offer short, intensive courses to help managers and policymakers across Africa handle international business challenges, such as navigating the opportunities offered by exporting, and clearly understanding the costs and benefits attached to joining global value chains. These short courses will be offered in collaboration with our sister centres in the EU and the UK.

The DAC seeks to act as a ‘virtual hub’ to promote collaboration between research institutions, universities, and businesses to study the impact of globalisation and international business. We plan to connect researchers based outside the continent who are interested in engaging with Africa-based actors. 

How should Africa-based small- and medium-sized enterprises approach international markets? What are the challenges and opportunities in investing abroad? How should large African businesses engage with large inward investors.

  • Research at the Dunning Centre

    The Dunning Centre – as befitting an International Business Research Centre – is a global affair. Our ‘home’ base, at the Whiteknights campus at the University of Reading (affectionately referred to as ‘Dunning Central’) has expanded informally over the last 60 years through its global network of research partners, staff alumni and doctoral graduates, as well as our collaborators in government, international organizations and multinational firms. 

    Our researchers have engaged informally and formally in policy-related advice, both directly to governments as well as through international and supranational agencies such as the European Commission, The United Nations, the World Bank, ASEAN, among others.  

    In addition, we have established two formal affiliates.  The Dunning Europe Centre, based at Politecnico di Milano, coordinates our EU-based partners, and complements our research strengths in innovation policy and economic geography. 

    Dunning Africa Centre, based in South Africa at the Henley Business School’s South Africa campus, seeks to develop IB research across the African continent, through our growing collaboration with business people and academic researchers across the continent. 

  • Key research themes at the Dunning Centre

    The Dunning Centres addresses two key aspects relating to contemporary business.  Firstly, we apply the ‘Reading School’ approach to the analysis of international business, to evaluate the impact of international business on socioeconomic and managerial issues. These issues can include firm performance, sustainable development, CSR, and the management of human resources within MNEs. We have a special interest in growth, development and inequality and how international business (through both trade and investment) affects the strategies of firms and the evolution of local economies in developing countries.  

    Much of our research pays special attention to the development challenges and opportunities associated with the activities of cross-border activities of multinational firms. This is not just intellectualizing for its own sake. In an increasingly complex and constantly evolving socio-economic world, politically salient and relevant research-driven policy advice can have long-term consequences. 

    Secondly, the Dunning Centres are concerned with business strategy per se, as implemented in all types of firms (including small and medium-size enterprises), and a wide range of industries and competitive contexts.  A considerable amount of research by the Centre relates to technology strategy, including its manifestation in firms’ approach to R&D and innovation.

    An area where the Dunning Centre has been especially strong is in our interaction with policy makers, think-tanks and international agencies. Over the last half century, we have fed into policy and regulation discussions at various levels, and in various countries, whether through our former students, or by our members, associate members and fellows, both past and present.  

    We have the benefit of having both a well-developed network of virtual partners across almost all countries in the world, as well as a formal presence in Africa and Europe.

  • About Professor John H. Dunning

    John H Dunning OBE was a British economist and is widely recognised as the father of the field of international business. John H Dunning Centre was renamed in 2008, in honour of the late Professor Dunning, and stands as one of the world’s premier research centres in the field.  At the time of his death in 2009, Professor John Dunning was Emeritus Professor of International Business at Henley Business School at the University of Reading.

    Professor Dunning joined the University of Reading as the first head of the Department of Economics upon its establishment in 1964. He spent more than 50 years research into the economics of international direct investment and the multinational enterprise and authored, co-authored, or edited 50 books on this subject, as well as publishing in industrial and regional economics.  

    He also supervised almost 60 doctoral students during his career. He was instrumental in developing the theoretical basis for much of International business, and remains one of the field’s most cited authors. 

    In 2007 the Dunning centre paid tribute to Professor Dunning, holding the first Reading IB conference to mark both his contribution to the field and his 80th birthday. Professor Dunning was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2008 birthday honours and received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Reading that same year.

    Professor Dunning also held honorary doctorates from the University of Uppsala in Sweden, the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain, the University of Antwerp in Belgium, the Chinese Culture University in Taiwan and the University of Lund in Sweden. He was also Honorary Professor of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics at Beijing.

    In December 2004, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual meeting of the European Academy of International Business in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

    In February 2019, The AIB Executive Board awarded a Gold Medal to Professor Dunning at the 50th celebration of the JIBS journal for an exceptional contribution in JIBS in the first 50 years.

    Read obituary

  • Members and associate members

    Rajneesh Narula OBE, is the director of both the Dunning Africa Centre and the John Dunning Centre for international business. He is Professor of International Business Regulation at the Henley Business School. He has published over 100 articles and chapters, and is considered be one of the world’s leading experts in international Business. Raised and educated in Nigeria, he is passionate about improving the development outcomes from foreign investment across Africa, and is currently an advisor to the Nigerian government in this area. He also regularly acts as a consultant and advisor to the European Commission, UNIDO, UNCTAD and the OECD, World Bank, as well as a variety of other international organisations, governments, and consulting firms. 

    He holds honorary appointments at United Nations University-MERIT, Norwegian School of Business, Oxford University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Urbino. In 2017, he was appointed an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). The honour is in recognition of his Services to Business Research. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (FRSA) in 2015.  He is a regular commentator on business and economics issues on BBC World News, Sky News, TRT World, CGTN, as well as a variety of print and online publications.  


    Professor Danie Petzer is the Head of Research at Henley Business School Africa.  He has experience lecturing at certificate, diploma, degree and postgraduate levels, mainly in the field of marketing with a focus on marketing research, B2B marketing, customer centricity, international marketing, international business, consumer behaviour and services marketing. He lectures Research Skills at Henley Business School Africa. He regularly presents SPSS training courses he has developed to academics, post graduate students and industry. He holds a PhD (Marketing Management) specialising in services marketing. His research focus area is ‘uncovering consumer responses to organisational efforts to build, maintain and restore relationships with customers in a services context’. 

    Danie has authored and co-authored several journal articles in his fields of specialisation, most notably published in the Journal of Services Marketing, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, The Service Industries Journal, European Business Review, International Journal of Bank Marketing, International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Journal of Internet Commerce as well as local journals like the South African Journal of Business Management, Southern African Business Review, The Retail and Marketing Review and Management Dynamics. He has also made numerous contributions to textbooks and regularly presents papers at national and international conferences. He is an associate editor for the European Business Review (EBR) and editorial board member of the Southern African Business Review (SABR). He has supervised several masters and doctoral students in the field of marketing to completion.


    Elena Beleska-Spasova is the Pro-Dean for Education and Innovation at Henley Business School and Professor of International Business.

    She joined Henley in 2009 with over ten years of corporate strategy consulting experience working with organisations across Europe and North America. Elena has held a number of T&L leadership positions over the years and led the instituting and growth of a number of work-based and executive programmes both nationally and internationally. In her leadership capacity Elena has also headed major change management and education innovation projects.

    Her research interests include strategic issues and challenges faced by organisations on an international scale, drivers of international competitiveness and performance, with particular focus on exports and SMEs.


    Professor Davide Castellani has been doing research at the intersection of International Business, International Trade and Economic Geography for over fifteen years.

    He has a PhD in Economics from the University of Ancona (Italy).

    His research focuses on the determinants of the firms’ internationalisation choices, and their impact on innovation, technology and economic performances of firms, regions and countries.

    Davide’s publications have appeared in leading journals such as:

    • Journal of International Business Studies
    • Journal of International Economics
    • Oxford Economic Papers
    • Regional Studies
    • Research Policy
    • Small Business Economics
    • The Review of World Economics

    He has been involved in a number of international collaborative research projects and acted as an advisor to the European Commission and other international organisations.


    Lucia Piscitello is Visiting Professor at the Henley Business School, University of Reading, UK, and Professor of International Management at Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

    She is co-director of the Observatory on Digital Export, at Politecnico di Milano.

    Her research interests cover:

    • the economics and management of MNEs
    • the international aspects of technological change, the geography of innovation.

    Her recent studies focus on:

    • agglomeration and MNEs’ location strategies
    • globalization of R&D
    • technology development in the global network of MNEs, digital technologies, global sourcing and reshoring,   
    • MNEs from emerging countries.

    She has published over 80 refereed journal articles. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Economic Geography, Economic Geography, Journal of International Business Studies, Global Strategy Journal, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Industrial and Corporate Change, Research Policy, among others.

    She is Associate Editor of the Global Strategy Journal, Co-editor in Chief of the Journal of Industrial Business Economics, and serves on the editorial boards of several journals. She acts as an external expert for the Department of Geography & Environment, London School of Economics, UK. She is a Fellow, Past President, and Chair of the European International Business Academy (EIBA).

     Associate members

    Andrew Mold is the Acting Director of the Subregional Office for Eastern Africa, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, based out of Kigali. He has previously worked for the UN Secretariat in Chile and in Addis Ababa, and also for UNICEF in Costa Rica. He worked from 2008-2011 at the OECD Development Centre in Paris, where he was a Senior Economist and in charge of their flagship publication ‘Perspectives on Global Development: Shifting Wealth’. He has published widely, including the CEPAL Review, the African Development Review, the Journal of Common Market Studies, and the Journal of Agricultural Economics.


    Charles E. Stevens is Associate Professor of Management and holder of the Thomas J. Campbell ’80 endowed professorship at Lehigh University. Stevens received his Ph.D. in international business from the Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University. His research interests lie at the intersection of international business and strategic management, with a particular interest in how institutions and social judgments such as reputation and legitimacy affect multinational firms’ strategy and performance. Stevens is especially interested in these issues in the context of emerging markets—understanding the strategies and unique challenges faced by MNEs emerging from or entering developing countries and regions such as Africa and China. Stevens’ research has appeared in numerous outlets including Journal of International Business Studies, Strategic Management Journal, and Journal of Management. Stevens also serves on the editorial review board of the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, and Journal of World Business.


    Matilde D’Amelio is Lecturer and Programme Leader at BPP School of Business in the United Kingdom. She received her PhD degree from Politecnico di Milano, Italy. Before joining BPP School of Business, she worked for Politecnico di Milano and several multinational enterprises. 

    Her PhD research addressed questions that intersect the fields of development economics and international business, focusing primarily on understanding how multinational enterprises could impact the access to electricity in developing countries. In the near future she is interested in investigating the relation between the adoption of digital technologies, productivity, and companies’ international competitiveness and growth.

    Her publications have appeared in journals such as World Development and Journal of International Management.


    Aloysius Newenham-Kahindi is a Canada Research Chair in International Sustainable Development and an Associate Professor of International Business at the Gustavson Business School, University of Victoria in Canada. He was born in Tanzania and educated in Kenya, in East Africa. He conducts research on International Business (IB) and Strategy of multinational firms. His works has appeared in the Journal of international Business Studies, Strategic Management Journal, Global Strategy Journal, Journal of World Business and elsewhere. His long-term research aspiration is conduct good IB research focused in Africa. As far as IB research is concerned, Aloysius sees Africa as distinct and interesting from other continents. Its political and institutional borders, the informal economy, market relationships, its vibrant entrepreneurial growth, cultural diversity, languages and several other attributes are fertile scholarly context to develop new insights that go beyond some commonly held assumptions in international business theories. Good research in Africa has also the potential to effect change and impact for international business theory and practice. 


    Helena Barnard is Professor at the Gordon Institute of Business Science of the University of Pretoria in South Africa.  She was the Dunning Fellow, 2018-2019. Her research interests are in how knowledge (and with it technology, organisational practices, and innovation) moves between more and less developed countries, particularly in Africa. She researches both organisational mechanisms (notably emerging multinationals and internet-enabled businesses) and individual mechanisms such as scientific collaborations, doctoral training, and the diaspora. Her research has appeared in the Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management, Research Policy, Journal of World Business and her journals.


    Muhammad Sani Abdullahi is the Commissioner of Planning and Budget in Kaduna State, Nigeria with an estimated population of over 10 million residents. In that role, he is responsible for the State’s fiscal and development policy, and also chairs the State Economic Planning Board. He was most recently Chairman of the State Infrastructure Council and also Institutional Development Council.

    A Development Economist, Muhammad was in 2018 appointed a Member of the World Bank Expert Advisory Committee on Citizen Engagement, a role he holds to date. He was also a Policy Adviser at the Office of the United Nations Secretary General and a member of the SG’s core team that designed the Sustainable Development Goals


    Ebun Jackson-Adekola started her career at Munich Reinsurance Company (U.K.), holding several roles across Financial Reporting, New Business Solutions and Client Business Management. She subsequently held leadership roles in several local and international insurance companies, including Liberty Holdco, Nigeria, where she served as the Chief Operating Officer.

    Before joining the Marsh team, Ebun was the Executive Director (Technical & Operations) at Tangerine Africa, where she was responsible for the development and implementation of technical and operational strategy for the start-up Financial Services group.

    Ebun was appointed as CEO, Anglophone West Africa for Marsh in April 2021


    Rebecca Namatovu is a postdoctoral researcher at Copenhagen Business School. Before joining CBS, she was a senior lecturer at Makerere University Business School in Uganda. Her research interests lie at the intersection of entrepreneurship and development studies. She researches entrepreneurship mechanisms associated with informality, poverty, inequality, post-conflict and sustainability in Africa. Her research has appeared in the Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development and Academy of Management Learning and Education. She serves as an associate editor of the Africa Journal of Management.


    Rebecca Yusuf is a PhD Research Student and Teaching Fellow at Henley Business School, University of Reading in United Kingdom. Her current research interests include managing diverse workforces international workforces through time. She focuses on different perceptions of these groups of workers on HR practices enactment and influences on their interaction with one another as well as how they perceive their careers and follow certain career paths before  and during crises. At the meso level, she researches on mechanisms utilised by IDOs in the allocation of human resources pre and post pandemic to impact governance and international business practice. She also teaches on a wide range of modules offered to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

  • The Dunning Africa Fellowship Scheme

    The John H. Dunning Centre for International Business is pleased to announce the establishment of the Dunning Africa Centre, and with it the Dunning Africa Fellowship Scheme.

    The Dunning Africa Centre (DAC), physically associated with Henley Business School’s South Africa campus in Johannesburg, is an Africa-wide initiative, with associate members based across Africa. The Dunning Africa Centre will emphasise both conceptual and applied research with the aim of optimising the engagement of African firms and governments with the forces of globalization, particularly those relating to trade, FDI and investment. 

    We intend to appoint one Africa Fellow every year, with the aim of enhancing research capacity associated with the study of Africa and International Business. Africa fellows are expected to give at least one seminar at our UK campuses and are encouraged spend some time in residence during the academic year (between September and June) to develop their research, in either UK, or south Africa.  They are entitled to refer to themselves as a ‘Dunning Africa Fellow’.

    Africa Fellows are expected to be actively engaged in the field of International Business (broadly defined) but with a strong and obvious linkage to Africa-related issues, and with an inclination towards multi-disciplinary and theory-driven research, in the tradition of John Dunning. Applicants must have completed their PhD and should be actively engaged in International Business research, either at a university or a research organisation. The fellowship is targeted towards individuals who have a track record of publications in refereed journals, and are not as yet ‘established’ (i.e., either early-or-mid-career). Note that this is not normally a post-doctoral position.

    The fellowship is financially supported by Henley Africa and the Dunning centre. Funding will cover the cost of travel and board for the Africa fellow, but offers no other financial renumeration.

    How to apply for the Dunning Africa Fellowship

    Interested parties who would like to be considered for the fellowship should submit the following documents to dunning@henley.ac.uk

    • A research proposal, indicating expected output, and specific academic staff with whom the applicant will be especially keen to collaborate;
    • The research proposal will be evaluated along the following lines:
      • The degree to which it has the potential to make some contribution to the study of IB in Africa;
      • Its relevance to the ongoing research at the Dunning Centres, in the UK, Europe or Africa. Ideally, the research should link to the ongoing agenda of one of our current centre members; 
      • Proposals are typically between 3 and 15 pages long.
      • We are particularly interested in supporting proposals that form part of a longer-term research agenda, and that promote the creation of teaching and research capacity in Africa. 
    • A detailed CV, listing publications;
    • A letter from the candidate’s line manager or head of department, that, should they be offered the fellowship, they have the permission of their home institution to participate in the fellowship.