HYPEROPIA, or far-sightedness, is a defect of the eye that results in an inability to see near objects, even though distant objects can be seen clearly. Many executives appear to suffer from this condition when planning their expansions into Africa.Specifically, they tend to focus on the potential long-term benefits of their presence and operations — for example, jobs and tax revenue — perhaps believing these will mitigate operational risks. They seem unable to see the potential for conflict and tension with local constituencies in difficult sociopolitical contexts right in front of their eyes.Take the example of AngloGold Ashanti, the world’s third-biggest gold producer, currently embroiled in a nasty situation in Ghana over its Obuasi gold mine, where escalating conflict with local miners recently claimed the lives of nine people.AngloGold Ashanti Ghana has asked the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes for an urgent ruling to make authorities en...

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