Iran's Africa problem
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shakes hands with his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe in Tehran on November 20, 2006. (Getty Images)
February 29th, 2012
06:00 PM ET

Iran's Africa problem

Editor's NoteEliot Pence is a Director at the Whitaker Group, a corporate strategy firm focused on sub-Saharan Africa with offices in Washington, DC and Accra, Ghana. Mehrun Etebari is a senior research assistant at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution

By Mehrun Etebari and Eliot Pence- Special to CNN

Iran’s efforts to build an African buffer against international pressure have hit a snag. With 54 countries (more votes than any other region) and growing influence in multilateral forums, Africa has been the focus of much of Iran’s economic and diplomatic engagement over the past several years. As recently as 2010, the Economist warned of “a new power in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Ideologically, the Islamic Republic has also long trumpeted its support of Third Worldism and sympathy for the economic and political struggles of sub-SaharanAfrica against the perceived neo-imperialism of the western powers. But the continent may not be the friend Iran was looking for. A combination of diplomatic missteps and growing interest in Africa’s energy feedstocks by some ofIran’s biggest customers threaten to further isolate the country. FULL POST

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Topics: Africa • Iran
December 2nd, 2011
12:41 PM ET

Four reasons Africa is rising

Editor's Note: Eliot Pence is a Director at the Whitaker Group, a corporate strategy firm focused on sub-Saharan Africa with offices in Washington, DC and Accra, Ghana.

By Eliot Pence - Special to CNN

Since The Economist labeled Africa “the hopeless continent” ten years ago, the continent has changed dramatically for the better. While a number of factors contribute to the continent’s increased growth, four trends in particular standout:

1. Political stability ― Africa has slowly become more stable, if only marginally more democratic. Overall country risk, according to the Economist’s research outfit, EIU, of Senegal, Ghana, and Mozambique is lower than those of other emerging markets generally considered more stable, such as Argentina, Ukraine and the Philippines, and of the 17 elections Africa had this year, the majority were free and fair. FULL POST

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Topics: Africa • Economy