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Industry Briefs
Pan African Trade Conference A Huge Success

The Africa-USA Chamber of Commerce (AfUSA) has successfully conducted a two-day Pan African Global Trade Conference ™ at California State University Dominguez Hills on October 21-22, 2010 in collaboration with the California African American Political and Economic and Institute (CAAPEI), the African Marketplace Inc, the California State Senate 26th District Committee on Trade with Africa and a consortium of 49 public and private sector corporations and community based organizations from the U.S.A. and Africa. The conference is an important first step in the establishment of a U.S. based public/private coalition to develop and implement policies and strategies for bilateral economic development between the U.S.A., the African Continent and the African Diaspora.

The 1st Annual Pan African Global Trade Conference ™ provided important information about trade and commerce with African and the African Diaspora for small business owners and students. This landmark event in Southern California covered topics designed to help small businesses get started in international trade and commerce with Africa.  The conference also offered a wealth of networking opportunities with private and public sector leaders from the U.S., Africa and the African Diaspora. Conference participants were exposed to essential business practices associated with international trade and commerce and current business opportunities in Nigeria, South Africa and Liberia. They also participated in business roundtables to discuss & recommend programs to develop important international trade initiatives.

The conference was also used to present and discuss African Diaspora Mobilization Initiatives currently being developed by the African Union, the World Bank and the Sixth Region African Diaspora Caucus and their potential for providing viable opportunities for bilateral trade and commerce between Africa, the State of California and the African Diaspora. The information gathered during the conference will also further efforts to support and inform the creation of a California State Commission on Trade with Africa to promote and facilitate bilateral trade, commerce and foreign direct investment between the State of California, the African Diaspora and the nation states of Africa.

The consensus opinion received from all of the conference participants is that the Ist Annual Pan African Global Trade Conference ™ was an outstanding success. Organizers acknowledge that any progress obtained would not have been possible without the support and participation of their public and private sector partners. They look forward to collaborating with them in the future as they develop programs that improve bilateral trade relations between the U.S.A., Africa and the African Diaspora and establish the Pan African Global Trade Conference ™ as an annual U.S. based international trade event.

The Pan African Global Trade Conference ™ has been developed to be a catalyst for Public/Private Partnerships that promote and develop the emerging economies of Africa and the African Diaspora through bilateral trade and foreign direct investment between Africa and African Diaspora global community.

The ongoing objectives of the conference are to:

  1. Explain the purpose, objectives and progress of the African Union’s 2003 Article 3 (q) invitation for African Diaspora participation and membership in the African Union
  2. Provide a forum in which private and public sector leaders and potential business partners from the U.S., Africa and the African Diaspora can network in roundtable business panels and private business meetings to discuss and implement viable strategies for trade and commerce that support the implementation of the African Union’s Article 3(q) invitation
  3. Provide current information about small business opportunities for international trade and commerce in Africa’s emerging markets
  4. Provide small businesses with information about current financing and investment programs for international trade & commerce with Africa.
  5. Strengthen business and cultural relations between the U.S., Africa and the African Diaspora through bilateral economic development and foreign direct investment.
Related activities that will be developed through the conference and throughout the conference year will include:
  1. Bilateral trade & investment programs will be researched and developed for small businesses owners and investors from Africa, the African Diaspora & the U.S.
  2. University-based certificated and degreed education and training programs will be developed to prepare individuals and small businesses for career and business opportunities in international trade
  3. Business tours will be planned and conducted to Africa, Central & South America and the Caribbean
  4. The Conference will establish programs to receive trade missions and student exchanges to the U.S. from Africa & the African Diaspora
The conference’s plenary sessions, workshops and African Business Opportunity Showcase provided important information about current international trade programs for small businesses and business opportunities for trade and commerce between the U.S.A. and Africa. They also discussed current problems associated with these programs and opportunities and recommended constructive approaches for resolving them.

The tone for the conference was set by opening remarks from Robert Farrel, Los Angeles City Councilman – Retired, Mervyn Dymally, U.S. Congressman-Retired, and a letter received from Amina Salum Ali, the African Union Ambassador to the United States. Attendees were reminded that Pan African Global Trade is not a new phenomenon. There has been a long history of trade and commerce between the African Continent and the African Diaspora. However recent developments towards creating a global marketplace have emphasized the need to develop new and/or refined paradigms for trade with Africa that are prepared for the regional integration of Africa’s markets and resources. African Union Ambassador Amina Salum Ali ‘s letter to the conference provided an example of how regional integration is currently occurring. She described a recent agreement in which three of Africa’s regional trading blocs, COMESA, the EAC and SADC have decided to unite and to create a single Free Trade Area with 600,000,000 inhabitants. The merger of these economic communities is seen as a precursor to the forthcoming total economic integration of the continent. This important event anticipates the need for those seeking trade relationships with Africa to develop new approaches that support Africa’s goals for economic growth, employment creation and poverty reduction as a united continent. Congressman Dymally emphasized the importance of this conference for preparing participants for international trade and commerce based on Africa’s plans for regional transformation and continental unification.

Workshops and session presented included “The Role of the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus (SRDC),” “Small Business Export Opportunities for Africa,” “Global Logistics – Planning International Trade Transactions,” “International Trade Financing,” “African Business Opportunities Showcase,” “Pan-African Business Tourism” and “Sports Management in Africa,” among others.

For more information or to find out about next year’s conference, call (626) 321-7041.
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