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Article

Cross-border Expansion and Competitive Interactions of Indigenous Mobile Network Operators in Sub-Saharan Africa

Dike M. C., Rose E.

Emerging‐market multinational enterprises (EMNEs) have become major players in the global economy, with an increasing share of global foreign direct investment (FDI). Indigenous mobile network operators (MNOs) in sub‐Saharan Africa (SSA) are not left out in this pursuit, as they seek growth and competitiveness beyond their domestic markets. We investigate the FDI location choices and competitive interactions of the five indigenous SSA MNOs that had internationalized as of 2014 and find that, contrary to the literature, these EMNEs, operating in a key and rapidly developing industry, did not tend to commence their cross‐border expansion in geographically close markets. In addition, the MNOs are more likely to invest in countries with stronger control over corruption and do not appear to engage in heavy head‐to‐head competition with their rivals. These findings contribute to the internationalization literature in the context of the investment and competitive behaviors of the currently underexplored indigenous SSA multinationals.