International entrepreneurship and technological capabilities in the Middle East and North Africa

Juliane Brach & Wim Naudé


In this paper we investigate the extent of international entrepreneurship in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Oman and Syria using a dataset covering 3,281 firms. We find that weak technological capabilities constrain internationalization. Firms with ISO accreditation, an own website, and those who have introduced new technology have a higher probability of entering export markets than otherwise. Firms in high-tech sectors are more likely to export early. However with foreign shareholding this advantage of high-tech firms disappears. The results suggest that early international entrepreneurs may need to pay more in informal payments if they want to increase the share of their exports once they have entered into export markets. We derive implications for policy and further research.

JEL classification codes: L26, L25, M16, O55, F23

Key words: International entrepreneurship, exports, entrepreneurial capabilities, innovation, Middle East, North Africa, MENA

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