INCLUDE Platform

Dutch multinational businesses in Africa

Dutch Multinational Businesses, Dutch Government and the Promotion of Productive Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa

Multinational businesses can bring knowledge and capital to developing countries and thereby help to create and support productive employment. The extent of their contribution depends, however, on their relationship with both the host and the home governments. This research project investigates the conditions that enable and stimulate skills transfers and the integration of the host’s economy’slocal businesses in international value chains and what the home country’s government can do to make growth more inclusive and employment more productive. Focusing on Dutch multinationals, the aim is to shed light on the recent change in Dutch government policy that foresees a transition from aid to trade as the engine of inclusive growth.

Using institutional theory as its backbone, this project takes an historical perspective analyzing policies from the start of independence in Kenya and Nigeria. The methodology is qualitative and based on secondary literature. Building on facilitating workshops, structured interviews in the home and host countries will provide in-depth knowledge about the different perspectives of government agencies, local businesses that operate in international value chains and multinational businesses and will help to identify barriers to productive employment.

Knowledge sharing will take place via policy briefs, working papers and in workshops with stakeholders that discuss and address difficulties in formulating and operationalizing policies with regard to multinational businesses.

In November 2014 this research group had their start-up workshop in Nairobi. The program of the workshop combined a keynote address by Dr. Kenneth Amaeshi of the University of Edinburgh Business School on investing for productive employment in weak institutional contexts, with presentations on government policy and foreign investment in Kenya and Nigeria as well as an overview of Dutch Multinational Investments in Kenya and Nigeria. David Ong’olo, senior policy advisor at the Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi, for example explained that there are more than 150 Dutch businesses active in Kenya, many of which have local representation. Prominent, but traditional, examples are KLM and Heineken, while increasing interest is visible in emerging sectors such as Renewable Energy, Financial Services and Medical Equipment. An important question therefore is how effective these emerging sectors are in generating productive employment. An overview presentation of the project and a full report of the workshop are available.
P1130864 P1130870

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  • African Studies Centre Leiden
  • Kenya Association of Manufacturers
  • University of Nairobi

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