The second face of the 3RD PAN AFRICA BUSINESS LEADERSHIP SUMMIT AND MERIT AWARDS was the dinner which held on Sunday 13th August.
Earlier in the day, Dr. Nana and Genevieve Kuffour hosted some participants to a lavish brunch at their splendid home in West Las Vegas. It was an exciting get together for participants, including Dr. Anthony Aubynn of Ghana Minerals Commission, Dr. Alex Asmah of Amenfiman Rural Bank, Larry and Reggi Kemp, Annette Watkins and Kryshawn Baity as well as Ike-Onwuka-Smarty and Dr. Sylvester Smarty.
The awards dinner kicked off by 6pm at the Banquet Room E of the Circus Circus Hotel & Resort Las Vegas.
Dr. Alex Asmah, CEO Amenfiman Rural Bank Ghana, made an interesting presentation on the remarkable fortunes of the bank. Which he said, fills a huge gap in the regional finance sector of the country, that holds a large volume of informal funds. These are usually neglected by urban financial institutions.
These include SMEs in agribusiness, manufacturing, produce trade etc. With an average of 20% return on investment and 30% on dividends, the bank continues to be the trail blazer in Ghana’s rural banking sector that boasts of close to 100 rural banks.
Discussions continued along the lines of how to improve US investments in Africa. Panelists were Dr. Anthony Aubynn, CEO Ghana Minerals Commission/Chairman Amenfiman Rural Bank Ghana; Mrs. Reginalea Kemp, CEO Kemp & Sons Fort Worth-Texas, Mrs. Eudora Ozigbo, President Grace Care Center Las Vegas and Annette Watkins, VP US Trust Dallas- Texas.
Dr. Aubynn contended that a couple of constraints inherent in Africa’s attraction of investments from the US include ingrained perceptions about the continent and negative information on Africa. He stated that there is that perception that Africa is one big country and Egypt the capital. Which is quite wrong, because Africa is made up of about 52 countries. Another wrong perception is that Africa is all about wars, violence and negativity, due to the constant barrage of information in the western media. Few positive news is reported about Africa by the foreign media and this influences their business people a lot. But on the positive side, he reiterated that the situation in Africa has improved tremendously in the past two decades, with change from military rule to democracy in virtually all African nations. The problem of infrastructure he said is a big problem, which is also opportunity for investments and the Chinese are taking advantage of this. He further noted that Africa is the last frontier for global investments and urged American Businesses to take advantage of its vast opportunities in real estate, mineral resources, agribusiness, healthcare, solar energy and others.
Reginalea Kemp noted that the major obstacle towards US – Africa business relationships lies in the fact that many US businesses, especially in the small and medium scale sector do not know much about Africa. For her there is little or no point of reference to know about the real socio-economic dynamics of Africa. American businesses find it more comfortable to partner with people they have relationships with. So according to her, there is the need to bridge the gap between Africans and African-Americans, culturally and socio-economically. Referring to the Africa Informer organized US-AFRICA International Women Day Conference, which held in March 2017, at which she participated “ I never knew that some women micro businesses could start up with about $300 – $500, or that banks could go pick up their money from debtors or even get paid via mobile telephone”. These according to her are not known business practices in the US and such information have remained valuable to her.
Some of the solutions she proffered include the setting up of a constant movement to educate Americans on the positives in Africa, like arranging business tours, giving more information on how some American businesses in Africa made break throughs, policies and incentives to encourage partnerships. She also feels quite elated that micro investments can be of substantial impact in SME growth in Africa.
Eudora Ozigbo agreed with Reginalea Kemp that educating the business community stateside is the key. She believes with more education, more US businesses in areas like agriculture, micro finance, healthcare, real estate etc, will feel more comfortable investing in Africa.
Annette Watkins affirmed that navigating the conditions for investments is always the major problem, since most US businesses do not have adequate information concerning conditions for doing business. She believes that real estate and agribusiness are sectors that might be of interest. She also mentioned that visits by the likes of the Culture and Tourism Sectors from Africa will go a long way to open interests in investments.
Generally, other contributors to the discussions like, Dr. Nana Kuffour, Dr. Jerome Nwokike, Mr. Larry Kemp, Eng. Peter Ozigbo, Ms. Kryshawn Baity and others agreed that there is the need for more integration through concerted education and information dissemination to improve US – Africa investment collaborations..
Other highlights of the night were the presentation of awards of recognition to some participants, by Annette Watkins.
Dr. Godwin Maduka (Lion of Africa), Medical Director, Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Centers gave an inspiring speech as Chief Guest of honor. He gave an inspiring speech regarding his various travails through the years, including racism and other obstacles he encountered on his way to the top of the medical field in the US. He was honored with the Pan Africa Leadership Award as Africa’s Most Inspirational Developmental Entrepreneur and Philanthropist.
Amenfiman Rural Bank Ghana got the award of Ghana’s Most Outstanding Rural Bank of the Year. Also honored were uniCredit Ghana Ltd – Ghana’s Most Efficient Savings and Loans Company for SME Growth; Rt. Hon. Phillip Shaibu, Deputy Governor Edo State Nigeria- Nigeria’s Most Outstanding Grass Roots Leader; Chief Dan Okenyi , Delta State Nigeria’s Commissioner for Culture & Tourism.- Most Outstanding Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Nigeria; Alh. Abdulrahman Abubakar Shuaibu, Talban Mubi, Member Nigerian House of Representatives- Most Outstanding Legislator in Community and Grassroots Development; Eclipse Global Holdings Ghana/Sierra Leone – West Africa’s Emerging Company for Enterprise Growth. Entrepreneur Larry Kemp, COO, Kemp and Sons General Service, Fort Worth Texas – International Recognition for the Promotion of African-American Enterprise Development.