Yo, Rouhani

Many Iranians have expressed disappointment that their national currency, the rial, did not strengthen over the weekend in response to the historic phone call between Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani and Barack Obama.

The reason the currency market did not reflect the public mood, analysts believe, is because the central bank is determined to curb a currency crisis and shield the market against political news in order to encourage investment, domestic production and non-oil exports. Read more

By Bright Simons of IMANI Ghana

On the fourth day of Barack Obama’s 6-day Africa tour, the president has unveiled a multibillion dollar initiative to help Africa tackle its crippling power deficit. White House aides made it known that this is the ‘signature’ Obama initiative for Africa that many have been expecting since he came to office, the absence of which has given rise to concern in certain circles.

As one of the people who have in the past complained about the seeming lack of new ideas for a “strategic engagement with Africa” from the White House, I welcome renewed energy towards that direction. The issue selected – Africa’s electricity challenges – is clearly a vital one. Read more

By Ivor Ichikowitz of Paramount Group

Africa’s time is now but its full potential can only be unleashed by those brave enough to forge true partnerships.

As economies stumble and fail around the world, the continent is the chief source of hope for global growth but the world’s most powerful leaders are ignoring the truth. Read more

When the White House created a petitioning website in 2011, it surely didn’t count on Barack Obama being asked to invade China, rule on the flavour of tofu and investigate a two-decade old Chinese poisoning case.

But that is exactly what has happened over the past week as Chinese people, motivated variously by a sense of justice, powerlessness or just plain humour, have flooded the White House “We the People” websiteRead more

The picture tells the story: US President Barack Obama kisses Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during his brief visit to Yangon on Monday.

Of course, he didn’t go on to hug president Thein Sein, the former general who two years ago ended Suu Kyi’s house arrest and is now cautiously liberalising Myanmar. Read more

President Obama’s return to the White House has gone down well among investors in emerging markets.

The incumbent’s clear victory is welcome in a world where there is already more than enough uncertainty. The worst result – an indecisive vote – has been avoided.

But that still leaves the new-old president with formidable economic difficulties, that weight heavily on the rest of the globe. In Asia, equities, currencies and bonds all generally traded higher with the dollar-denominated MSCI Asia-Pacifix ex-Japan index up 0.9 per cent at around 16.00 Hong Kong time. Read more