Summit to Promote Trade, Business Between Africa & U.S.

Deepening the United States-Africa trade and investment relationship has become the focus of the latest event being held in Cincinnati this week.

On the decline since 2011 due to low economic growth rates, the United States trade relationship with sub-Saharan Africa remains underdeveloped. As of 2016, only 1.5 percent of U.S. exports were to sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. Economic growth in Africa from 2004 to 2014 averaged 5.8 percent, but in 2015, growth only reached 3.75 percent. One important way of supporting consistent trade and business growth and opportunity is through increasing African engagement with the international economy through increased participation in international trade.

The Africa-America Trade and Investment Summit will not only highlight the importance of doing business in Africa but also address the potential challenges and opportunities faced in doing so.

Manny Addo, CEO of Africa America Business Promotion, is an international trade professional with experience fostering business between Africa and the United States. This led him to organize this inaugural summit in Cincinnati. He has successfully supplied several Ghana-made products including all-natural soaps and body lotions to Jungle Jim’s International Market. Most recently, Addo has been negotiating to supply Ghana-made products to Fortune 500 companies based in the Cincinnati region. He hopes that these companies will be more inclined to do business in sub-Saharan Africa with information provided during the event.

Hosted by the African Professionals Network in conjunction with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the summit will include representation from several local organizations and keynote speakers throughout the day.

Local organizations participating in the summit include the Chamber, Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council, African American CEO Roundtable, Office of the Cincinnati Mayor, Jungle Jim’s International Market, APNET, DHL, Cintas Corporation, and Kroger.

The group of speakers at the event includes individuals representing local and international trade and business: Jacqueline D. Neal, Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council; Mayor John Cranley; Key Note Speaker Honorable Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry, Ghana; E. Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States; Steve Hightower, CEO of Hightower Petroleum; Mark Klein, Exim Bank USA; and Yofi Grant, CEO of Ghana Investment Promotion Council (among others).

Registration for the summit is still open through Thursday July 12th. Basic attendee registration is $45, while registration for the summit including the VIP networking session is $95. For more information regarding the summit or how to get involved in promoting international trade and business growth, email info@africanprofessionalsnetwork.org or contact Manny Addo at mannyaddo@gmail.com or (513) 307-5426.

Read more articles by Erin Pierce.

Erin Pierce is a contributing writer for Soapbox, and a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University.
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