The high point of the 2-day summit, which opened on the 12th of August 2017, at the Boardroom – Circus Circus Hotel and Resort, on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, with the conference segment, was where the seeds for future partnerships and collaborations sown among a number of participants.
The conference opened with a welcome address by the host, Ike Onwuka Smarty, CEO Africa Informer and The Pan Africa Leadership Summit, who stressed the need for US businesses to look towards Africa, especially businesses owned by African Americans.
Some of the top participants at the conference segment were, Ethel Pence, representing Dr. Godwin Maduka, M.D, D. Pharm, a triple professor and Medical Director of the Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Centers, the largest medical franchise in Nevada; Annette Watkins, Vice President, US Trust Bank, Dallas Texas, an investment / Wealth management bank; Larry and Reginalea Kemp, owners of Kemp & Sons General Services, a Fort Worth -Texas based top Fortune 5000 services company, with turnover in excess of $30M annually; Dr. Anthony Aubynn, CEO Ghana Minerals Commission and Chairman Amenfiman Rural Bank Ghana, Dr. Alex Asmah, CEO Amenfiman Rural Bank Ghana, which is Ghana’s most profitable rural Bank with turnover in excess of $20M annually; Dr. Nana Kuffour M.D, CEO Pioneer Pediatrics Las Vegas and his wife Genevieve; Dr. Jerome Nwokike M.D, Oases Medical Center Las Vegas and his wife Dr. Maria Nwokike M.D, who also owns a practice in Endocrinology and diabetics.
Also present were Dr. Sylvester Smarty M.D, Smarty LLC Cleveland Ohio; Eng. Peter Ozigbo and his wife Eudora Ozigbo, President Grace Care Center, Las Vegas; Mr. Chris Mordi, President Novitvo LLC, Boston and Las Vegas; Ms. Kryshawn Baity, President Urban Revolution Dallas-Texas and others.
In his speech – Imperatives for The US Private Sector Integration into the Vast Opportunities Inherent In Africa’s Rising Economies, Mr. Smarty noted that “this platform continues to promote private-private and public integration of global and African business partnerships with a bias for the medium and small scale business sectors (SMEs), considering that Africa’s economic force fall within this range. By this we mean businesses in the $500,000 to $100M annual turnover category.”
Continuing Mr. Onwuka-Smarty said “Foreign direct investments into Africa has grown from just $2billion in 1990 to $56.2 billion in 2016. China has become the largest trading partner for Africa, with its exports to China at $67 billion, a 153% increase over those of the USA. By 2015, China’s exports to Africa were $102 billion, while US exports were just $27 billion or 26% of what China exports to Africa. Similarly, Africa’s exports to the US fell from an all-time high of $113 billion in 2008 to just $26.5 billion in 2015. While US exports to Africa have dropped from $38 billion in 2014 to $22 billion in 2016. These are from World Bank reports”
He further echoed the words of Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina, the President of African Development Bank, who had stated earlier this year at the Corporate Council for Africa organized US-Africa Summit in Washington DC, that the US must change the lenses with which it looks at Africa from aid to trade, in support of US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
“Africa’s GDP growth rate, which averaged at 2.2% in 2016, is expected to rise to 3.4% in 2017 and 4.3% in 2018. In 2016, 12 African countries recorded more than 5% growth, while 20 others achieved growth rates ranging from 3 to 5%. Furthermore, most of the best performing countries are the non-oil or non-commodity dependent economies such as Cote d’Ivore which grew at 8.2%, Ethiopia at 8%, Tanzania at 7.2%, Senegal at 6.7%, and Rwanda and Kenya at 6% respectively”, Dr. Adeshina said at the occasion.
Ike Smarty, urged participants to seek ways of reaching a common ground to sow seeds of partnerships that will encourage fruitful investments in Africa from the summit, especially in lucrative sectors like real estate, health care, solar energy, education, finance.
Chief Guest Speaker Mr. Larry Kemp, COO, Kemp & Sons General Services Texas, Executive Coach and Business strategist, delivered an inspiring lecture on Leadership in Business and Life.
He pointed out the difference between a manager and a Leader; Processes and Procedures versus influencing how others think, act and live; Real Leadership effectuating change and influencing others to be a part of that change; Greatest leadership acts are not remembered for their fortunes or fame but that they change the way people live their lives – Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, Jesus Christ. He affirmed that leadership must be decisive, you must have a do it yourself philosophy, do it right now philosophy, be passionate and challenge the status quo with a view to excel.
He also agrees that it is imperative for Africans and African Americans to come together with a view to helping each other grow socio-economically. He presented data from recent studies that indicate- 41% of so called Black Ivy Leaguers freshmen have at least 1 parent of African descent. At Yale Law School, at least 16 out of the 18 students were immigrants or children of immigrants from countries in and around Africa. This indicates the vigor with which Africans who emigrate to the US pursue their dreams and the need for a more cohesive synergy with African Americans, who of course share the same ancestry.
Annette Watkins, VP, US Trust Dallas, in her presentation told the audience that her bank is an investment, wealth management and wealth growing bank, which is always on the lookout for investment opportunities. Her firm also invests in philanthropic projects, if certain conditions are met. Her bank, which can fund projects from $3 million upwards, will always partner US companies with interests in Africa on investments with impressive returns.
Kryshawn Baity, President of Urban Revolution Inc. Dallas, in her presentation, made available well researched treatise on the viable potentials in African agribusiness, especially in Nigeria and Ghana. Though she is an African-American, her passion is to move to Africa where she can operate in its lucrative agribusiness sector. Her remarkable presentation generated quite some interests in participants, especially those who plan to invest in Africa’s agribusiness sector.
Speaking on behalf of Dr. Godwin Maduka at the conference, Ms Ethel Pence who delivered the speech, told the audience of her principal’s passion for investing in Africa despite being a US citizen spanning his 40 years stay. He said his roots in Africa is a proud legacy he will continue to embrace. This he stated has propelled him to build houses for his people, donated police stations, court houses, school buildings, hospitals, churches, scholarships, roads and the massive 17-storey medical center in Nigeria. As well as sponsor Americans to school and offer them jobs as his way of sharing the blessings of God in his life.
The conference ended with a session of networking among participants.