Now that last year’s federal election is well behind us, it’s imperative that Democrats and Republicans drop the partisan politics and work towards a much bigger problem than their constant fighting – creating a sustainable model that will allow the economy to continue growing. In recent months there have been positive signs that the U.S. is gaining momentum after what was a tough few years beginning with the international global economic meltdown in 2008.

The House and Senate can’t continue to operate in a state of flux as they have for the past four years – opening up old and new wounds just because both major political parties want to flex their muscles and show who’s really in charge. The well-being of Americans is on the line, so there’s no time for childish, petty arguments by the fine folks in Washington.

The two sides narrowly avoided going over the socalled “fiscal cliff” although most financial experts say a deal was in the cards all the way. It was more about each side getting as much as possible before doing the handshake. All that is quite likely true, because had they not come to terms it could have sent the American economy tumbling backwards and into recession. But by waiting until the last minute to pull together a limited bill, which extends the Bush-era tax rates for most Americans and extends long-term unemployment insurance. Congress sidelined other major fiscal issues that really needed to be resolved prior to 2013. The debt ceiling is one such issue – now at a level of more than $16 trillion. Recently, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that would force President Obama to estimate when the federal government’s budget will balance again.

The continent of Africa is often perceived by western world as lacking in so many ways and for that reason it’s often not given much consideration as a place that would be ripe for doing business. But as our cover story reveals, there is much potential for a number of the 54 countries within that continent, which is the world’s second largest in both size and populace covering 20 per cent of the earth’s land surface and more than 1 billion people, accounting for 15 per cent of the world’s population.

The American Business Journal conducted an exclusive interview with the man who created just the second open-end Africa Fund anywhere in the United States. Robert Scharar, president and senior portfolio manager of The Commonwealth Fund is also president and CEO of FCA Corp. in Houston, Texas. He’s spent a great deal of his life in numerous African nations and has gotten to know how each one is very much different from the other. It’s Scharar’s opinion that a lack of education on our part is partly to blame for not recognizing this great opportunity – and he’s right.

In hi-tech, the former Research In Motion, now BlackBerry, came out strong with its Jan. 30 public release of its Superphone the BlackBerry 10. Will it be enough for the former leader in smartphone technology to once again do battle with the Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy GS and other Androids?

Angus Gillespie