Advice on Doing Business in Africa

Later this month, hundreds of U.S.-based small-business owners will meet potential partners and suppliers from Africa's 53 countries at an international summit held in Washington, D.C. The 7th Biennial U.S.-Africa Business Summit will include a business matchmaking program aimed specifically at small and mid-sized companies on both continents, says Stephen Hayes, president and CEO of the trade group The Corporate Council on Africa, which is organizing the event. With democracy and vibrant free enterprise becoming common in many African nations, Hayes says, the continent is a promising emerging market that U.S. companies ignore at their peril. He spoke to Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.

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