Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Allafrica.com Reports on the FEEEDS-Gallup Africa SME Forum
Ahead of President Obama's second U.S.-Africa Business Forum planned for New York on September 21, 2016, the FEEEDS Initiative —Food Security, Education, Environment-Energy, Economics, Democracy-Development and Self-help— in partnership with GALLUP, hosted the third annual forum on Africa in Washington, D.C. to discuss the importance and impact of Africa Diaspora small and medium size Enterprises (SMES) in the development of the Continent. Managing Partner, Gallup, Jon Clifton, introduced the featured special guest, Catherine Byrne, President Obama's Special Assistant and Senior Director for African Affairs at the White House.
Other speakers included Alicia Robinson-Morgan, Deputy Director of the Africa Office at the U.S. Department of Commerce; Leila Ndiaye, Africa Policy Director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Rahama Wright, member President's Doing Business in Africa Council (PAC-DBIA) & CEO-Shea Yeleen, with Allafrica.com CEO, Reed Kramer, as moderator.
The hosts for the Africa Diaspora SME Business Forum were Jon Clifton, Managing Partner, GALLUP, and Ambassador Robin Sanders, CEO-FEEEDS. AllAfrica.com and GB Group Global led by Dr. Gloria Herndon were this year's featured partners. This is the third year Allafrica.com has been the media partner and the first that GB Group Global participated.
In her opening remarks, Ambassador Sanders said the FEEEDS-GALLUP Africa Diaspora SME Business Forum represents an important step forward for high-level meetings in sharing practical and useful information to Africa SMEs, the state of the current U.S.-Africa business relationship, and Gallup's important data of the state of the Sub-Saharan Africa Region. "It also provides for a unique platform to highlight the role that Africa Diaspora SMEs are playing in the region's economic development, GDP growth, and spurring the middle class," Sanders said.
In her speech, President Obama's Special Assistant for Africa, Catherine Byrne, noted that despite huge security challenges, democracy and business growth have taken root in Africa and "there is progress." She said progress can be seen in several countries in Africa including places such as Zambia and Nigeria where exemplary general elections were held with winners and losers embracing peace or violence. She said the second U.S.-Africa Business Forum planned for New York in September 21, 2016 will solidify the Obama Administration's effort to not only increase US-Africa business ties, but strengthen the US-Africa relationship. Byrne identified some of the economic policies that have achieved results in Africa as the Security Governance and Trade Africa Initiatives, Power Africa, FEED the Future program, The Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI), the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, assistance setting up an Africa-like Center for Disease Control (which is already underway as a result of the Ebola outbreak), the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), efforts to fight corruption, and the extensions of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for another 10 years – all will be part of President Obama's Africa legacy. She highlighted these examples that we can all build on in response to questions about: what has been achieved; where is the US-Africa relationship going, and, what was next in the relationship.
The Africa Diaspora SME business forum had two sessions. The first session, moderated by AllAfrica.com's CEO Reed Kramer, had Alicia Robinson-Morgan, Leila Ndiaye and Rahama Wright. The panel discussed Africa's current investment opportunities, key sectors for SME participation, the role of President Obama's PAC-DBIA, and his upcoming U.S.-Africa Business Forum. Click here to read full Allafrica.com story http://allafrica.com/stories/201607181038.html