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Somewhat provocatively, let's pose the question: Are good dictators better for a country (and the world) than bad elected presidents?

Traveling the world, mainly for business-related reasons, has gotten me thinking about country governments, infrastructure-building, and the world community. The United Nations has 193 members, which means almost all countries in the world are UN members (54 countries or territories, recognized as such, are not, including notable exceptions such as Taiwan, Kosovo, Vatican City, and Palestine).

On my most recent trip to Kenya and the meetings of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Investment Forum, there was a plethora of countries represented and numerous high-level officials. And, since the meeting was in Africa, most of the 55 countries in Africa and its 1.2 billion people were represented by officials. Africa has seen its share of “dictators” and elected leaders, and that begs the question of which is the best – it seems the answer should be easy, but is it?

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The development of cloud computing has certainly helped businesses to reach new heights but can it also do this for countries? The connectivity that is available from cloud computing can be far more valuable to those who lack resources than those who have an abundance of them. In many ways cloud computing acts as an equalizer and has the potential to accelerate economic growth in Africa as a whole.

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Businessmen go to Africa with hopes of profitable investment opportunities, but often they forget the level of diversity present among African countries. “You can’t treat Africa as one single market. So choosing where to play and where you will get the best return is the critical question,” said Michael Wood, the co-founder and director of consulting firm Aperio.

Many companies target the continent’s biggest economies, such as Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya; because they think these markets have mature economic structures. However, Wood suggests that companies new to the African market should first enter a smaller country. A small market usually provides investors with a lower risk of failure, less competition, and more approachable customers.

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When a business expands into a new international market, many obstacles and uncertainties stand before it. Although Africa is the fastest-growing continent today, managers in the region must deal with a variety of questions in order to achieve continued growth. In a market that has a volatile history like Africa, managing uncertainty effectively has been a critical aspect for many companies. International business managers also deal with many uncertainties as regulatory differences and political disputes are common when a company operates in several markets. Analyzing how managers in Africa deal with uncertainty can provide us with great insight on how to successfully manage an international business.

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As the 21st century has trudged on into its second decade, the increasing rate of globalization that has encouraged integrated global markets has also brought emerging markets into the spotlight of international business. Although strong economies like China, India, and Brazil have captured most of the international community’s attention, sub-Saharan African countries are beginning to make their impact on the global economy. Sub-Saharan Africa is now home to 6 of the world’s top 10 fastest growing countries in the world, and these countries have been projected by the IMF to grow between 5 and 6 percent each year over the next two years. Additionally, U.S. exports to the region now exceed $21 billion per year. Clearly, the African continent of over 1 billion people and vast natural resources has tremendous potential for investors in a global economy, but one question remains: How exactly do you approach a market place as, frankly, notorious as sub-Saharan Africa?