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date: 19 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Scholars and practitioners once commonly linked “African culture” to a distinctive “African capitalism” that was at odds with genuine capitalism and the demands of modern business. Yet contemporary Africa has undergone a transformation in thinking about business, accumulation, and capitalism itself. Business cultures have evolved as a result of numerous factors, both exogenous and endogenous, including education, religion, migration, and technology. Consequently, a capitalist ethos has taken hold within both state and society. The success and visibility of an emergent class of African big business reveals that business and profit are culturally acceptable, as most celebrate and others seek to emulate these large firms. Existing theories of African capitalism are ill-equipped to explain these changes, in part because they are too rooted in anachronistic interpretations of African business culture, and culture in general. African business cultures increasingly are as diverse as any across the globe, and at their core is a growing capacity for reproduction, as capitalists.

Keywords: African culture, business, capitalism, entrepreneurship, liberalization, patrimonialism

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