• Rowan Taylor

Student thesis: Doctor of Business Administration


The bottom of the pyramid (BoP) market in Africa is a significant opportunity for multinational banks. To address this banks' need to increase their understanding of their BoP context, develop new approaches to overcome BoP obstacles, and use technology to create new commercially viable business models. The purpose of this study was to investigate how banks use co-creation with stakeholders to operate in BoP markets in Africa. The research explored how banks provide services to companies and individuals that currently do not use banks services, and acquire understanding by working with companies, individuals and other market actors to generate services that creates an infrastructure for BoP markets to 'work'. This study addresses the gap in the research on how banks co-create in BoP markets, providing understanding of how banks' create approaches to customers and operating models to achieve sustainable growth in BoP markets. Empirically, the study examined specific bank projects to better understand how co-creation supports banks to delivers sustainable and scalable business models.The main findings from the empirical research demonstrated positive results, strong leadership and commercial management are critical to banks operating in BoP markets in Africa; concurring with arguments put forward by Casado Cañeque and Hart (2015) and extending London and Hart's (2010) analysis into a banking context. Research confirmed post-financial-crisis corporate governance of banks and their boards' ability to ensure they can demonstrate their banks are well managed, and management having a detailed understanding of the operations, has created trade-offs and restrictions on how banks operate in BoP markets. No common strategies emerged to create a new business model for banking in BoP markets in Africa. No immediate significant new direction emerged for banks to overcome their business models' legacy of inflexibility to address the needs of BoP customers.Results revealed bank proposition development approach remains generally focused on developed, rather than developing, customer contexts and regulations. The majority of BoP customers in Africa remain excluded due to cost, distance, and a lack of suitable products, as variables such as access, cost and regulation made it challenging for banks to provide compelling bank-wide propositions. BoP customers in Africa are becoming easier to access, as banks, card networks, and mobile network operators use digital technology, like mobile phones, to access BoP customer markets at lower costs than traditional business models, allowing new approaches to proposition development, such as test and learn in the field. The findings demonstrated value in co-creation via partnerships, supporting Simanis (2012), who maintained that firms are likely to be successful in BoP markets if they use existing infrastructure and local partnerships to enter BoP markets, and that pioneering work on microfinance initiatives embracing new approaches to digital technology across banking markets has led banks to reconcile the need for new approaches to BoP markets.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMohammad Yamin (Supervisor) & Rudolf R. Sinkovics (Supervisor)


  • Banking, Strategy, Emerging Markets, BoP, Business Models, Co-creation

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