Many organisations in South Africa make the wrong assumption when trying to expand their business to other countries in Africa; there is usually an assumption that what works in South Africa will automatically work in another African country. Organisations have slowly through the years learnt that it is all about understanding the clientele, their cultural preferences, their environment, policies, procedures and how business is conducted in their respective countries. There are characteristics about Africa that present themselves as obstacles to business success. It was therefore crucial to direct attention towards the nature of these obstacles. The researchers also sought to make practical recommendations to assist the organisations to overcome the identified obstacles.
The aim of this study was to investigate the unique strategy challenges faced by South African financial banking institutions expanding into the rest of Africa.
The study was conducted using a qualitative research method in the 2nd semester of 2018. Face to face semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from senior managers and executives in a financial institution. Thematic analysis was used to identify common themes from the responses.
Themes related to cultural differences, regulation, need for different strategies, understanding specific customer needs, competition and infrastructure were identified. These themes represent some of the most pertinent challenges South African financial institutions expanding into Africa face. Some managerial recommendations are made to overcome these challenges.
Keywords: Strategy, internationalization, strategic management, barriers, strategy implementation