Where Investors Fear to Tread

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP/Getty

OUT OF ORDER: A burned-out cash machine bombed by criminals in a township near Soweto

It was the opening day of the World Economic Forum on Africa, and Presidents, finance ministers, tycoons, bankers and philanthropists from 42 countries had descended on Cape Town to discuss the future of the continent. To welcome them, South Africa's President, Thabo Mbeki, was hosting a dinner at which he would talk of his nation's rich potential. The free, first-come, first-served tickets for the meal had gone fast. Unabashed, an African executive in the queue beside me tried to bribe his way in. "I'll leave the money here," he declared. "Just tell me how much."

Neither of us...

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