While it wobbles from time to time and its prospects become as murky as its politics, the story of Africa is still one of the world's most appealing, along with those of Latin America and Asia. And South African executives understand that their key competitive edge over their peers in this global village is their comprehension of emerging-market economies. But this seems to be the first thing to be forgotten when a pin-striped banker or lawyer walks into an executive boardroom to sell an idea of expansion outside the continent. Over the past five years they've been sold on the allure of the world's developed markets, in the main London for our retailers and eastern Europe for our property players. Given the economic conditions for emerging markets in recent years, it was an easy sell, especially when our bad politics got exposed. Evidence of just how good business has been for advisers in recent years is the property boom under way in Sandton, where law firms are trying to outdo the...

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