Why Business Publications Are Vital

By Versi, Anver | African Business, August-September 2005 | Go to article overview

Why Business Publications Are Vital


Versi, Anver, African Business


This month, we are requesting your indulgence as we engage in a bit of trumpet blowing. Last month, we were thrilled when it was announced that African Business and myself had won two of the most prestigious media awards going. (See full story on page 21).

The Diageo awards are specifically for excellence in reporting on business in Africa and are open to all comers, including international broadcasters and publishers such as the BBC, CNN, The Economist and so on.

What was particularly pleasing to us was the fact that most of the judges were all very high calibre Africans who are at the helm of Africa's critical transition phase. While we were delighted by the awards, I pointed out that Africa is still very poorly served by good quality business and economics publications. Business publications proliferate in the developed countries and are increasing in number and diversity in the advanced emerging markets. News stalls in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China are brimming with excellent business publications. The growing demand for more business and economics information and analyses does not come only entrepreneurs but also the public at large.

As more information is made available and as various economic issues are explained, more people find that they have sufficient knowledge to start out in their businesses or expand the businesses they already run. Once you understand how, for example, the stock market works, you too can become a player. Once you learn how to apply the facts and figures concerning, say, commodities, you can engage in commodity trading. Knowledge of how the financial world works opens the door to a host of enterprises.

Knowledge is power

In the world of business, knowledge is indeed power and it can lead to fortunes, or conversely, lack of the relevant knowledge can lead to the loss of fortunes.

Although business schools provide a good deal of basic information, the real day-to-day knowledge has traditionally come from business publications. Business publications deal with the real world rather than theoretical models--they factor in political trends, the human factor, emotions and so on. They create business role models and they monitor the performances of the key players. They campaign on behalf of business and they keep a sharp eye on government policies.

There is a belief that America's business culture, including its corporate structure, its emphasis on innovation, its management philosophy, all grew out of business publications such as Fortune, Forbes, Business Week and others. …

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