News & Highlights

  • OCTOBER 2019

How Will the City of the Future Be Impacted by Water?

This October as part of the Worldwide Week at Harvard, John Macomber, Senior Lecturer of Finance and Faculty Chair for the Africa Research Center, and James Matheson, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, joined a panel of thought leaders to discuss the impact of water on world cities for decades to come. The future of cities is impacted by water in two main manifestations: too much water (notably flooding and sea rise) or not enough water (leading to drought, extreme heat and increased fire risk). They discussed several cities around the globe including Lagos, Nigeria.
  • OCTOBER 2019

Book Launch Session: Sangu Delle

In October, The Center for African Studies (CAS) and Africa Research Center (ARC) hosted a session with Sangu Delle, Managing Director of Africa Health Holdings, to hear about his new book, Making Futures: Young entrepreneurs in a dynamic Africa. The book profiles 17 of the most inspirational, courageous and hard-working young entrepreneurs in Africa. Delle has acquired vast knowledge of business environments across Africa, with a particular focus on start-ups and entrepreneurship. In his writing he responds to questions, drawing on examples taken from the 600 young people he interviewed in the course of his research.
  • JULY 2019

MBA Voices: A Kenyan Student’s Experience—Meet Aspa Lekka, MBA Class of 2020

MBA Voices is Harvard Business School’s admissions blog. A collection of community perspectives on the blog provide prospective students with insight into life at HBS. In this interview, Kenyan student Peggy Mativo-Ochola, MBA 2020, explains her journey to HBS.
  • JUNE 2019

Faculty Immersion in Nigeria and Kenya

This June, 26 Harvard Business School Faculty took part in a weeklong immersion to Nigeria and Kenya. They had the opportunity to visit and learn from close to 20 African companies and hear about both the unique challenges these companies face as well as their innovative business practices. Further, they participated in the 2019 HBS Fung Global Symposium in Lagos, connecting with over 100 local alumni and business leaders in the region. Faculty also met with the Vice President of Nigeria and the President of Kenya during their time in the region. HBS’ Africa Research Center contributed significantly to the intellectual content of the program and will have the opportunity to engage a number of the faculty participants on new case studies that emerged from the visit.

New Research on the Region

  • November 2019
  • Case

Edita: Making Choices in Uncertain Times

By: Caroline M. Elkins, Juan Alcacer, Alpana Thapar and Youssef Abdel Aal

After 15 years of steady growth and expansion, Edita, a leading Egyptian snack producer, faced a series of challenges in the wake of the Arab Spring. In January 2011, the Egyptian Revolution sparked political and economic turmoil that reflected the waves of protest and violence already spreading throughout North Africa and parts of the Middle East. Hani Berzi, CEO of Edita, managed to navigate the company through this period, though the severe devaluation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016 meant yet another period of crisis for the country’s economy and, with it, the snack food industry. Hani was faced with a series of hard decisions that would determine Edita’s future. He held a crisis management meeting with his executive team and on the agenda were two key decisions. Should they increase their prices as a short-term strategy to survive the turbulent period at the risk of losing market share? Should Edita aim to diversify risk by tapping into underserved rural areas in Egypt or rather by expanding its presence in regional markets? Or, should the company adopt some combination of both strategies, or neither, and instead devise another course for addressing the crisis?

  • 2019
  • Book Chapter

The Consequences of Mandatory Corporate Sustainability Reporting

By: Ioannis Ioannou and George Serafeim

A key aspect of the governance process inside organizations and markets is the measurement and disclosure of important metrics and information. In this chapter, we examine the effect of sustainability disclosure regulations on firms’ disclosure practices and valuations. Specifically, we explore the implications of regulations mandating the disclosure of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information in China, Denmark, Malaysia, and South Africa using differences-in-differences estimation with propensity score matched samples. We find that relative to propensity score matched control firms, treated firms significantly increased disclosure following the regulations. We also find increased likelihood by treated firms of voluntarily receiving assurance to enhance disclosure credibility and increased likelihood of voluntarily adopting reporting guidelines that enhance disclosure comparability. These results suggest that even in the absence of a regulation that mandates the adoption of assurance or specific guidelines, firms seek the qualitative properties of comparability and credibility. Instrumental variables analysis suggests that increases in sustainability disclosure driven by the regulation are associated with increases in firm valuations, as reflected in Tobin’s Q. Collectively, the evidence suggest that current efforts to increase transparency around organizations’ impact on society are effective at improving disclosure quantity and quality as well as corporate value.

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Johannesburg Staff

Pippa Tubman Armerding
Executive Director
Dilyana Botha
Senior Researcher
Tafadzwa Choruma
Administrative, Research and Program Assistant

Lagos Staff

Wale Lawal
Senior Researcher