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International Business Institute

Cases Involving the 39 Countries


Featured Cases...


White Gold in Benin: Chinese Investment in China 9B18M003
In mid-June 2011, the Chinese president of the China–Benin joint venture Benin Textile Company (Compagnie Béninoise des Textiles, or CBT) was deeply worried about the supply of cotton in Benin. Since 2009, CBT had faced significant challenges in obtaining a reliable cotton supply. In 2010, the company had already placed its cotton orders, but local Beninese cotton producers were unwilling to deliver cotton at the earlier agreed-on price due to the rising market price. CBT was forced to stop production for five months and could not deliver on numerous contracts. The president of CBT was unsure whether to stay in West Africa and if so, how to improve the cotton supply situation. He had four options: maintain the status quo and hope for improvements, withdraw from West Africa, buy cotton contracts from other countries, or invest in cotton production. Which would be the best option for his company?


DeliverMeal Ivory Coast: Addressing Headquarters' Demands 9B17M048
In 2015, DeliverMeal was a Norwegian online food delivery firm, mostly present in what could be considered emerging markets such as those in Africa. Founded in 2010, the company had experienced extremely rapid international expansion. DeliverMeal followed a global strategy, and standardized processes and turnkey solutions were provided from the headquarters to the subsidiaries.

The local business development manager at DeliverMeal’s Ivory Coast subsidiary needed to make some decisions on how to react to three demands that had recently been passed down from corporate headquarters, all of which were at odds with the West African environment. How could the Ivory Coast manager meet her headquarters’ corporate expectations and still conduct successful business operations within the local cultural context?


BRAC: Shasthya Shebikas’ Role in Delivering Health Care Service to Rural Markets 9B17A065
BRAC was the largest non-governmental organization in the world, reaching out to 138 million people. It made a significant contribution to reducing poverty in Bangladesh by employing more than 117,000 community workers (Shasthya Shebikas) to improve the health and nutrition of the rural poor. The manager of BRAC's Health, Nutrition and Population program was faced with two significant challenges. First, she had to find a way to encourage more people to use BRAC’s services; more than 60 per cent of the population sought the services of unqualified health care service providers, despite the significant contribution made by Shasthya Shebikas. Second, she had to bring down the 10 to 20 per cent turnover rate of the Shasthya Shebikas.

Sun Café & Bar: A Ray of Opportunity 9B18M009
In May 2017, the owner and co-founder of the Sun Café & Bar (Sun Café) contemplated the future strategic direction of the restaurant, which offered both Nepalese and continental cuisine. Though Sun Café had shown growth since its opening in 2013, it had not achieved the revenue or brand reputation that the co-founders had hoped for. Facing mediocre financial performance within a fiercely competitive industry, the co-founders wondered where they should go from here, should they pursue new avenues for growth. They had six months before the fourth-year anniversary of the café to discuss strategic issues and come to a decision.

Doing Business in Sierra Leone: Graeme Hossie at London Mining (A) 9B16M228
In 2008, Graeme Hossie, co-founder and chief executive officer of London Mining, an iron-ore mining firm, was preparing to assist the London Mining team in its negotiations for a project in Sierra Leone. Hossie was to meet with representatives from the government of Sierra Leone, a local city mayor, and landowners to acquire a property that included an old iron-ore mine. The mine was a potentially high-grade iron-ore mine that would be lucrative for London Mining. Hossie needed to develop a negotiating strategy to ensure that the business and legal talks went smoothly and that the company retained as much control as possible over the project. The "A" case focuses on the background of the project, including the business environment in the United Kingdom and in Sierra Leone; the "B" case (9B16M229) describes what happened as the negotiations unfolded, and how Hossie managed the various setbacks that he encountered.

Sawdust, Co. 9B15M034
In May 2013, the owner of Sawdust, Co., a small woodworking business outside Kigali, Rwanda, has to decide on a new strategic direction for his company while not compromising its past success. He had started the company in 2007 with the goal of revolutionizing the sawdust industry in his country while also promoting social welfare in the region by offering employment to both survivors and perpetrators of the 1994 genocide. Although the company has achieved modest profits, he is eager to do more. However, some tough decisions lie ahead. He can choose to go alone and take out bank loans to invest in the three lines of machinery needed to expand the business; he can engage in a joint venture in which he will have to give up an equity stake in return for the required capital; or he can follow the status quo. How can he achieve top line revenue growth, remain profitable and socially responsible and withstand international competition?

Sunrise Power: Charting Growth in Unexplored Areas 9B17M093
Sunrise Power, a first-generation mid-sized power and mining company in India, was considering geographical diversification in the African continent. While many African nations were rich in resources, they often lagged in economic indicators, and global companies hesitated to invest in infrastructure due to limited risk appetite. However, this left an opportunity for mid-sized firms such as Sunrise Power, so long as they could attain regulatory support and ensure high returns. Sunrise Power needed to evaluate the complexities in identifying the right market in Southern Africa. This included examining indicators like population, gross domestic product, energy demand forecasts, and electrification capacity. The firm also had to identify the critical success factors and assess the risks in the strategy planning process. Finally, it needed to design an organizational structure for its African venture so as to realize the benefits of diversification.


Joe Fresh: Ethical Sourcing 9B16M023
After more than 1,100 people lost their lives in the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in Bangladesh, executives of Joe Fresh, a Canadian fashion and lifestyle brand, had to respond. Along with numerous other Western retailers, Joe Fresh had sourced much of its merchandise from the Rana Plaza factory. The disaster evoked an emotional public reaction, ranging from sympathy to outrage. The clothing industry had become a critical part of Bangladesh’s economy, and this was not an isolated incident. How would the Rana Plaza incident affect the public perception of Joe Fresh, and what could the company do to improve that perception? More fundamentally, how could Joe Fresh balance its competitive position, obligations to shareholders, and customer demands with ethical sourcing?


Walton: Building a Global Brand Through Internationalization 9B16A001
By 2014, the Walton Group, an electrical goods manufacturer based in Bangladesh, sold its products in over 20 different countries. A decision to utilize the advantages of low labour costs in the company’s home country was made in the early 2000s, which led to an increase in value and permitted rapid international expansion. To achieve Walton’s mission of “Walton at every home,” the company established various specialized support units both inside and outside of Bangladesh. Government tax incentives in Bangladesh had boosted Walton’s cost competitiveness, but how else could Walton compete with other international brands to achieve is goals and become a household name worldwide?


LifeNet International's Transformation of African Healthcare via Social Franchising 9B14M131
LifeNet International was a social conversion franchise concept aiming to provide basic, quality and sustainable healthcare to poor and underserved populations in sub-Saharan Africa. The founder and president had relied on the assistance of others to help bring about his idea of affordable healthcare. In 2012, the executive director for LifeNet International’s operations in Burundi, began focussing on developing the company in Burundi. She was excited to see LifeNet International’s presence expanding into Uganda. Her vision for LifeNet International, however, was much bigger. She envisioned LifeNet International as a sustainable organization that could provide quality healthcare and medicine to millions of people around the world.


If it planned to expand internationally and bring healthcare to more of the world’s population, LifeNet International needed a solution to tie its services together to further scale, replicate and measure its social impact. How could LifeNet International bring its social conversion franchising model to other African nations and internationally? Would LifeNet International’s model work logistically, financially and culturally? What adaptations would LifeNet need to make and what legal challenges would it face in the process of expansion? Furthermore, what structures would LifeNet need to put in place to manage the complexity of its growing network of partner clinics and operations?


Ushahidi 9B14E010
As the co-founder of a software platform called Ushahidi, Ory Orykolloh watches the unfolding catastrophic earthquake crisis in Haiti and must decide how her company’s crisis-mapping software might assist international authorities as they move into Haiti to provide help and relief. Ushahidi was developed as an open-sourced mash-up platform combining Google Maps with publicly reported (text-based) incidents of election violence during the Kenya 2007 elections, and thus, the system effectively managed to bypass government censorship. Expansion into other uses during both political crises and a variety of national/international events provided opportunities for growth. Now, with Haiti, Ushahidi’s management team must consider how its software could be used to provide assistance during a catastrophe like an earthquake.


Tata Chemicals Magadi: Confronting Poverty in Rural Africa 9B15M008
In the summer of 2013, the managing director of Tata Chemicals Magadi, Africa’s largest soda ash manufacturer and one of the oldest and largest export earners in Kenya, was wondering how he was going to respond to a growing number of challenges. As a producer of a commodity product, the company was vulnerable to escalating energy costs, oversupply and economic cycles. Global growth had been sluggish since the 2008 economic recession and competition was intense, especially since the emergence of Chinese producers. Magadi Township, where the company’s production facility was located, was one of the poorest in the country, subject to droughts and without many of the basic public services typically provided by government such as roads, health care, electricity, water and education. To address these needs, the company migrated from a top-down, paternal, ad hoc and resource-intensive approach to a bottom-up, collaborative, holistic and resource-sharing style that focused on community capacity building and self-governance. However, the issue now is how to best balance the strong need to reduce costs while remaining committed to the sustainability of the surrounding community.


A Public Relations Campaign for Rwanda 9B14A035
On February 5, 2012, the founder of McDonald Kinley Emerson, a consultancy in Toronto, Canada, was asked to give a talk about country branding. She decided to focus on the efforts of Racepoint, a U.S. marketing services agency, to reshape the image of Rwanda. As it attempted to shift perceptions of the country from war-torn and chaotic, Racepoint’s campaign attracted controversy amid allegations that wrongdoings were being glossed over in favour of a tourist- and business-friendly image. In August 2011, the publication of documents outlining the contractual agreement between Racepoint and the current Rwandan government sparked scrutiny of the government’s perceived remaking of the country’s image. Can a country overcome its reputation for genocide and violence? Should countries actively use public relations tactics to change or reinforce their reputations in the same way that corporations do?


Beer for All: SABMiller in Mozambique 9B14M026
SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer, has developed a business model in Mozambique that represents a radical departure from the firm’s traditional approach to beer production. Despite this multinational’s well-developed global supply chains and heavily centralized processes, it has disrupted both established processes and products and has, instead, innovated to produce a cassava-based beer in an effort to serve the low-income consumers who comprise the bulk of the African economic pyramid. In a marked departure from corporate best practices, the manufacturing process begins outside of the brewery and in the vicinity of the scattered and rural cassava farming plots.


EA Financial Services 9B14M042
EA Financial Services is a microfinance institution in Koforidua, Ghana. In its seven months of operation, it has done well to establish a client base, but it now lacks sufficient capital to meet the growing demand for new loans. Although having a growing client base is a positive sign, the lack of capital is a significant burden — the company has had to begin turning down loan requests. The owner knows that potential clients will likely deal with one of his many competitors if he cannot provide financial services for them. He wonders if he should first explore obtaining additional operational capital or concentrate on improving current operations. Several alternatives to addressing these issues have presented themselves. What is his best course of action?


Ethiopian Airlines: Bringing Africa Together 9B14M005
Ethiopian Airlines plans to expand its African market base to become a leading airline in the continent. As part of the airline’s multi-hub strategy, the vice-president of alliances and corporate strategy and his team must identify a suitable hub location and decide on the appropriate mode and level of ownership. Success in the first hub is essential as it will both validate the viability of the multi-hub strategy and set the tone for the establishment of subsequent hubs throughout the continent. The vice-president and his team need to resolve three issues: location of the first hub, entry mode and ownership level.




Ivey Publishing Cases Involving the 39 Countries


The poorest countries in the world have received little attention by business school case writers anywhere. For example, even among Ivey Publishing's current collection of over 5000 cases (the second largest business collection in the world), any of the 39 countries are referenced only 84 times and in a mere 63 cases since some of the cases deal with multiple countries and are, therefore, counted more than once.



Number of Relevant Cases







Burkina Faso






Central Africa








Cote D'Ivoire






































Sao Tome and Principe




Sierra Leone

















As of February 22, 2018


9B14M057 – 13 pages
Military Arsenal Systems: Preparing to Lead a Team (A)
Lyn Purdy, Ken Mark

In March 2010, a newly promoted engineering area manager at Military Arsenal Systems, a Vancouver-based defence contractor, has just become team leader for a key program at the firm. His biggest challenge is how to lead his team, given that he is dealing with a range of personalities and the fact that he was a peer before he became their leader. How can he prove himself to be an effective leader not only to his team but to senior management? Can he rally the team quickly enough to meet the stringent deadlines for supplying the sophisticated armoured vehicles contracted by the U.S. Army for its mission in Afghanistan? See supplement 9B14M058.

9B12C009 – 18 pages
Defense Research and Development Canada – Toronto (A): The Organizational Alignment Program
Gerard Seijts, Helen Wojcinski

The world had changed as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Canada was engaged in the Afghanistan War, and the first casualties were being felt. It was November 28, 2005, as Rene LaRose, the director general of Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Toronto, sat in his office preparing for an all-staff briefing the following day. He knew that for his research institute to remain relevant and be a major contributor to the emerging needs of the Canadian Forces and national security in this rapidly changing landscape, a major transformation of his centre was required. The Canadian Forces was undergoing its own metamorphosis under its new Chief of Defense Staff, General Rick Hillier, and DRDC Toronto needed to be in synch with this development. LaRose had spent several years trying to convey the message that profound changes at DRDC Toronto were needed — changes that were as much cultural as they were structural. The sense of urgency was now acute with Canada at war, and DRDC Toronto was poised to embark on a major organizational alignment program.