Friends and neighbours

One of my interviewees this issue used that old saying ‘When America sneezes, the world catches a cold’. Prior to the spectacularly depressing events of 2008, the IMF had been convinced that such fears were over-wrought and that the crisis would remain within the American housing market. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, we can see how optimistic such an appraisal was. In fact, in today’s global market, we are all more and more at the mercy of our neighbours – even if there’s an ocean between us – as we become more reliant on their investment and trade.

While many African states enjoy a special relationship with countries such as India and China, the USA has not had a comparable influence on the African continent. Given that half of the 12 fastest growing economies in 2012 are in Africa, the United States must surely understand the importance of trade relations with the continent. Our cover feature this issue reveals that the US does indeed value African business with its 15-year African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) going into its 12th year and the annual forum taking place in Washington this June. We speak to the US State Department about what African businesses can expect from AGOA.

Keeping to the theme of benefiting neighbours, Exotix Equity Research give us analysis of the potential for the Nigerian Dangote Cement to enjoy Pan African growth. Then, we look at the social impact of a business providing Pay As You Go solar energy to a number of different African countries. That’s to say nothing of the many companies we are profiling this issue in a variety of different sectors.

Africa continues to dazzle with its commercial successes – now is the time to let worldwide neighbours know that we’re open for business.

Tania Ahsan

Editor