Sesame is one of the oldest crops known to mankind. The tiny seed, first used in the Middle East in 2000BC, also commands a billion-dollar export revenue for Africa. China used to be the world’s biggest exporter of sesame, but now the country’s farming habits have changed – and Africa is filling the void. The continent’s production of sesame seeds is rocketing, with some countries experiencing up to 20% growth.

Last Saturday, October 1st, marked the beginning of West Africa’s 2016/17 cocoa season. This is my fourth cocoa season observing from the sidelines, and I believe that it could be the most intriguing one yet.

As far as corporate mascots go, Mr. Peanut is in his own league.


In 2016, the world faces uncertainty and volatility – as well as huge opportunities for significant progress. Africa stands not just to gain from these major shifts, but also to lead some of them.

The global landscape is certainly challenging, with the political and economic news dominated by slowing growth, rocky stock markets, falling commodity prices, risks in emerging markets (especially China), increasing numbers of refugees, geopolitical tensions and the threat of violent extremism.


Until recently, when people talked about “emerging markets,” they were referring to the BRIC economies: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Undeniably, these countries have changed the face of global business over the past twenty years. Yet lately, the BRICs have been crumbling a bit, sparking many reports about their lackluster performance.

Olam: 25 years of doing good and doing well

Africa, and particularly sub-Saharan Africa, has rapidly gone from an emerging market play to a must-be-there business opportunity for many of the world’s largest companies and most active business sectors.




NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies


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