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FunTimes Magazine

African Caribbean Business and Tourism Programs

African Caribbean Business and tourism programs





Group pictures of Odunde founder Lois Fernandez, Ambassadors and other dignitaries


Yusuf Abdul, Glen Hamilton


Left to Right: Fatimah Gamble, Florizelle Liser,Kenneth Gamble, Bumi Fernandez


Attendees and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell


Group picture of attendees



African Business Roundtable An African Business Roundtable program was hosted by the Global Interdependence Center at the Federal Reserve Building June 12 in Philadelphia.


Stan Straughter, Board of Directors member, ODUNDE opened the program and introduced Florizelle Liser, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa as the keynote speaker. She discussed the status of the African growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Obama Administration programs to promote trade between African countries.

Ms. Liser noted that since President Obama hosted the first U.S.-Africa Summit last year there has been a shift in the relationship between the two continents. "Africa is a new place- no longer viewed as the 'Dark Continent'. The middle class is growing," she stated. 12-8She reminded the audience that President Obama is visiting his father's home country in July 2015. The Ambassadors from six African countries to the US spoke on trade and investments in their countries. The ambassadors included Daoude Diabate, Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast); L imbiye Baraki, Togo; 12-9Lieutenant General Joseph Smith, Ghana; Thulisile Nkosi (Counsel General), South Africa; and Lily Munanka, Tanzania The panel was moderated by Kahiga A. Tiagha, founder of Tiagha and Associates.

Major Resources


Major resources identified for companies desiring to do business in Africa and the Caribbean are the Embassies of the respective countries in the U.S.,the USEA (United States Export Assistance Centers- one located at 6th and Market in Philadelphia), and the Foreign Service/Economic Officers of the U.S. Embassies in the countries of interest. Capacity Building initiatives were a theme in the Q&A that followed.

Philadelphia's Soul Music Legend, Chairman of Universal Companies and ODUNDE Board Member Kenny Gamble welcomed the gathering stating 12-11'It's so great to be talking about Africa as the continent to do business with. Education is primary and as we honor the strengths of our captured ancestors.' Alabama in Africa by Andrew Zimmerman was recommended as an excellent resource for exploring the economic, political, and intellectual links connecting Germany, Africa, and the southern United States.

The Global African Diaspora Tourism Initiative


This Program held June 13 at the Enterprise Center in Philadelphia featured His Excellency Denis G. Antoine, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations. He stressed the importance of incorporating tourism in our everyday fiber to promote unity and outlined the broad elements and impact of tourism including health, sports, heritage, knowledge, education and business. It was highlighted that the United Nations has designated the decade 2015 to 2025 as the 'International Decade for People of African Descent'. The African Union has developed a vision to unite the global African Diaspora by the year 2063 and African and Caribbean countries are promoting initiatives to promote trade, investment and tourism with Black Americans.

With Ahmeenah Young, former president of the PA Convention Center as moderator, the Ambassadors responded with their perspectives while praising Antoine for his enlightened challenge, followed by Christopher Chaplin, Minister Counsel, Jamaica, Professor Temi Ologunorisa, Executive Director, Center the Black Culture and International Understanding, and Melvin Foote, 12-13President of the Constituency for Africa. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, also representing the Mayor's Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs, presented the speakers with Philadelphia City Council endorsed Citations. Rahim Islam, President of Universal Companies and ODUNDE Board Member, spoke passionately about 'giving the people what they want'- freedom, justice and equality- confirming that to reach economic freedom, we must get past psychological ills and divisions and achieve solidarity such as through the emerging Philadelphia Community of Leaders (.org) dedicated to addressing the systemic issues of African Americans in the city. Oshunbumi Fernandez, President of ODUNDE, Inc. spoke personally of her history with ODUNDE starting with being carried on her mother's back as Lois Fernandez struggled and championed ODUNDE for all these years and now Oshunbumi's son is already thinking of the 80th Anniversary!