Doing business with Africa major theme of Florida economic forum

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Florida Forum on African trade April 11-14 specifically seeks to include African Americans in growing trade and business opportunities. Democratic Republic of Congo delegation led by Ambassador Marie Helene Mathey Boo, center in pink coat. (Photo: DeWayne Boyd)

A large contingency of African trade specialists and government representatives came prepared “to do business” at the April 11-14 Florida International Economic Forum that took place in Broward County despite the record rainfall that shut down Fort Lauderdale’s airport for two days.

The mid-April forum is a follow-up to the trade deals and contacts that were first made during last October’s annual Florida International Trade and Cultural Expo (FITCE 2022) that brought together trade and business professionals from over 60 countries of Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Representatives from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were among the most active participants who extended trade and business invitations to the guests at the four-day event.  

The United States and most of Africa have operated under special trading terms since the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was established in 2000. Under AGOA, the U.S. allows duty-free trade with the bulk of African nations.

DeWayne Boyd, a former assistant to Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Jim Buck Ross, now the Minister of Agriculture of the State of the African Diaspora Region 6, said the current forum has allowed the DRC especially to make a number of breakthroughs in the U.S. markets.

“We had over 200 in attendance from both the private and governmental sectors ready to invest and do business in DRC,” said Boyd, who was one of the event organizers.

“The DRC is proactive in its outreach to the USA to establish strong and continuing trade relations,” he said. “This trade initiative is a part of the overall strategy to develop all sectors of the DRC economy with a special focus on agriculture, mining, energy, and infrastructure.”

Boyd said special invitations are being extended to African Americans with an interest in overseas business and trade. This is a splendid opportunity for Black Americans to immerse themselves in the culture, investment, and business opportunities in DRC.

The building of strong trade ties with the U.S. is significant in that this new effort to expand ties with American trade and business partners will somewhat alter the African nation’s long-established ties with former colonial powers France and Belgium, Boyd said.

In addition, the DRC ambassador to the U.S. has extended an open invitation to Florida trade and economic planners to dispatch a number of trade missions to DRC to explore even greater opportunities in trade and business.

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Doing business with Africa major theme of Florida economic forum

By Earnest McBride
April 24, 2023