Final Statement

ManaGlobal: Concluding remarks and outlook

Ulrike Schuerkens, Project Coordinator at the University Rennes 2 from 2019-2023

The RISE project funded by the European Commission on the employment and business situation in Africa has shown the importance of African cultures in the economic systems of sub-Saharan Africa. The chapters of the published articles and books analyze the economy of Senegal, Ghana, Morocco and Cameroon and the measures taken to improve the economic situation and the integration of the population into the modern economic system. After the introductory research on the ManaGlobal project, which funded the work presented in the other work packages, economists presented the economic situation of the different countries. Another topic was to describe the organization of work in co-working spaces in Dakar recently. Next came the efforts made by the Senegalese authorities to facilitate the formalization of the so-called “informal” sector. The importance of these efforts was demonstrated, as were the many initiatives aimed at extending the formalization of businesses. Then were set out the practices of business schools in integrating African cultural traditions into their curricula. It was emphasized that these approaches are still at an embryonic stage. The ManaGlobal project, with its distance learning modules, and its books, aim to provide tools for better understanding the hybridization of management practices within companies, analyses that can be used in business school teaching.

The second part of the research has brought together case studies based on an analysis of the professional and personal careers of several entrepreneurs. These pieces of research show how these entrepreneurs have been able to make their businesses profitable. They reveal that certain sectors, neglected by the large groups, are those in which the generation now in their forties or fifties is investing. These companies are SMEs, often with between two and five employees. Their field of activity is often related to the core subjects studied by their founders at universities or business schools. They enable their CEOs to rise to the top of the different countries’ upper middle classes, while at the same time defending a constant readaptation of their practices based on the innovative nature of their businesses. We have also shown that the digital sector developed as a reaction to the confinements and social distancing measures imposed by the COVID-19 crisis, which had affected the economic situation of companies and the work of employees. 

The economic sector described is rightly considered to be important not only for the present, but also for the future of the population, characterized by its young people who are looking for ways out of a situation where salaried employment concerns only a small part of the working population. The socio-professional integration of these young people is therefore a challenge that is supposed to be met by job-creating growth. Entrepreneurship is seen as a solution to the unemployment threat facing a significant proportion of the population. Government programs support business start-ups through training programs and financial support in the form of loans or grants. The aim is to make these businesses viable by subsidizing and supporting the initiatives of young men and women so that they can become independent and quickly integrate into the world of work. As for vocational training, its aim is to meet the needs of the market. The professional future of a large part of the population therefore depends on businesses that need to be supported and nurtured to create jobs, generate growth, encourage innovation, and initiate transformation. Senegal and Ghana are characterized by the dynamism of start-ups created, among others, by emigrants returning to the country, who are contributing to its development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the imbalance in the employment sector by putting pressure on the private sector. We have shown that the companies discussed in this project had to cease their activities and/or reorientate them for a limited period. The hotel and restaurant sectors were more affected by business closures than the aesthetic and digital sectors, which were little affected by the crisis

and were able to reopen after the containment period that began in March 2020. However, there has been an increase in poverty on the continent – reinforced by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis – and closures have affected 4.5% of businesses in Africa (AfDB 2022: 39), more than in other regions of the South. In the years to come, economic growth will lie in the industrialization of part of African economies thanks to SMEs that specialize in tasks in global value chains, enabling the country to become part of the global economy.

Globalization and the Problem of Global Cultural Diversity

The here described processes must be considered as a new cultural diversity that has been intensively influenced by glocal (global-local) socio-economic processes. To clarify, I refer to earlier publications on this topic (Schuerkens, 2017 and Schuerkens (ed.) 2019) that permit to insert the lifeworld of African entrepreneurs in the context of glocalization.

Currently, the processes of local absorptions of global cultural flows and the mix between global and local cultural elements are frequently examined. It has been shown that the global cannot exist without the local. The local is the space, “in which a variety of influences come together, acted out perhaps in a unique combination, under those special conditions.” (Hannerz 1996: 27)

The essential elements of the local can be found in the local daily lifeworld. Hannerz called it the “form-of-life context”. This framework includes daily activities at home, at work, and in the neighborhood, daily emotional face-to-face relationships with other people in the region, daily uses of symbolic forms, in short, all those elements that last long and are part of the local life (Hannerz 1996: 28). These events and experiences of local everyday life are considered as directly and genuine. Often, these elements have a great impact on people’s lives. The local daily life is regarded as the central area of the organization, production, and dissemination of culture. Here we find a constant circulation of meanings, including any person participating in local life, each consumer, and each worker. Hannerz (1996: 73) wrote: “It is by way of people’s attentions to one another in situations within the form-of-life frame (…) that meanings are most continuously and precisely constructed.”

This means that the central role of the life framework regarding external cultural inflows must be negotiated with local daily actions and interactions. A cultural inflow is filtered by local human experiences that allow the adoption, rejection, interpretation, and transformation of actions and forms. Long (1996: 50) wrote: “In fact globalization itself can only be meaningful to actors if the new experiences it simultaneously engenders are made meaningful by reference to existing experiences and cultural understandings.”

What is now the central role of globalization in the construction of meanings and in the reception of external cultural elements? Because of this cultural power of the local, everyday possibilities of cultural influences from the global culture are strongly limited. But this local living environment will change; it is limited in time so that an unchanged cultural continuity cannot be guaranteed. New cultural elements are introduced by TV series, Western consumer goods, and values of migrants; they may become elements of the local everyday life, often in changed forms and adapted to the local conditions. Families are the most important places of cultural reproduction and transmission of traditions of immense external influences through processes of globalization: A trans-generational continuity of attitudes, beliefs, and desires is thus more and more undermined.

The local culture and the local daily life can no longer be considered as a space where practices and dispositions are transmitted (Appadurai 1990: 18). The life and the cultural identity of a people are becoming less constructed according to a traditional setting. Due to mass media and other aspects of globalization, numerous possible lifestyles and identification models are currently used by different

actors in local dimensions. They represent ideas, fantasies, and inspire perspectives that are not the same as traditional local representations and lifestyles. Imagination and tentative adaptation play an increasingly important role in the creation of an individual life. Individual lifestyles, values, and behaviors of people are thus more and more different from local cultural tradition`

The mutual influence of the local and the global means a continuous interaction of local cultural elements and global cultural influences in the local cultural construction of local meanings and cultural forms.

Globalization and the Emphasis on Local Cultures

Parallel to global integration and the increasing importance of transnational levels, we find an intensification of local cultural traditions that must be considered as a countertrend in the current global world. We can find such an intensification of local characteristics and differentiation.

These processes can be found in numerous societal fields: in economics, politics, environmental movements, cultural values, etc. They can be an expression of enrichment, revitalizing, and reinventing local cultural identities and traditions, considering common ethnic, social, or religious elements. Several factors explain the appearance of these trends: local groups, global connections, and their influence on local elements interpreted as an attack on vague fears in the face of their own culture. The speed and extent of global change and the complexity of global systems may also help to strengthen the desire for stability and continuity. This new sort of localism permits to establish a refuge from the difficult larger world. References to local communities and local values, the revitalization of traditional cultures and an emphasis on local cultural identities may permit a feeling of stability and confidence in the face of globalization processes.

From this perspective, the focus is not directed at one’s own culture against another real culture – even if groups who are concerned often emphasize this factor – but against the feared effects of processes of globalization. At the same time, the emphasis on local cultures may mean in Western and Southern countries the opposition to globalization processes and their origin.

Another trend needs to be considered here: the worldwide development of a new cultural self-consciousness. This cultural self-awareness is growing due to the global spread of ideas and values and the worldwide recognition of culture and cultural elements as a universal value. A global recognition of the right to an own culture and cultural self-determination accompanies these processes. As the idea of landscapes studied by Appadurai shows, a global spread of ideas and values is part of the current globalization processes. The fact that more and more groups consider their culture and lifestyle as a political right lets them put an emphasis on their own culture. Today, due to mass media and global migration flows, global cultural differences are thus easier to determine and find out.

In conclusion on this theoretical part, we can state that many of the inflowing cultural elements are transformed during the processes of integration and embedding in new local environments. They are interpreted by local populations in terms of local cultures and experiences. They are accepted with the help of local requirements and are filled with appropriate contents and functions. Hannerz (1992: 238) showed that this process takes its time in reshaping the global culture. But these processes of local appropriation and transformation of cultural elements allow the emergence – due to the mixture of local and imported cultural elements – of something new and unique. The local clash of different cultural elements is a creation of new cultural forms, new lifestyles, and new representations. According to a global perspective, this means a global cultural diversity: but a diversity resulting from the current global cultural relations, from the cultural appropriation of external elements by local populations and from the creative mixture of ‘global’ elements with local cultural meanings and forms.

The global culture is certainly not a one-way street but may rightly be interpreted as “a global intercultural interplay,” as Nederveen Pieterse (1993: 9) described it. The countries of the South export, for example, their music, their literature, their spirituality, or healing methods in the countries of the northern hemisphere. These trends are not new, but due to processes of globalization, their importance increases: migrants and the media, tourists and scientists are constantly looking for innovations in other cultures and are interested in “exotic” and “authentic” cultures.

Published books 

Schuerkens, Ulrike, Aminu Mamman -and Mohamed Branine (2019) Pour une sociologie du management en Afrique et dans le monde arabe. Paris: L’Harmattan.

Schuerkens, Ulrike (2023) Entreprises, entrepreneurs et travail au Sénégal. Paris: L’Harmattan.  

Mamman, A., M. Agbebi and M. Branine (2023) “It will take a global village to find cure for global pandemics : The Ubuntu Perspective.”Third World Quarterly.

Yeboah-Assiamah, E., Hossain, F., Mamman, A. and Rees, C., 20 (2023) “On the Question of Entrepreneurial Breakthrough or Failure in Africa: A Framework for AnalysisAfrican Journal of Economic and Management Studies.14, 2, 289-312.

Villette M, Chevalier F., Berry M. (2022) “Que savons-nous des entreprises africaines? “Introduction du numéro spécial; Annales des Mines, Série Gérer&Comprendre, N° 150.

Villette, M., M. Branine and M. El Bachir Wade (2024) Entreprises Africaine: 25 tentatives pour sortir du néo-colonialisme et du sous-développement. Paris: Presses de l’Ecole des Mines.

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Ulrike Schuerkens (2024, 20 mai). Final Statement. ManaGlobal : Globalized Governance Norms and Local Business Practices. Consulté le 17 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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