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Tuesday AM January 19th, 2009

The Texas Africa Business Summit will bring representatives from over a dozen countries to Houston next month. Ed Mayberry reports.



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The International Trade Center is collaborating with the City of Houston, the Greater Houston Partnership, the Governor’s Division of Economic Development & Tourism, the Department of Commerce and the Ethio-American Trade and Investment Council on the Texas Africa Business Summit in February.  Ninth District Congressman Al Green is serving as the event’s Honorary Host Committee Chair.

“This affords us an opportunity through workshops and through business matching opportunities there at the event to develop not only aid as it relates to Africa — aid gives people hope — but also trade, which provides help.  This is an opportunity for business people in Africa and business people in the United States, with the help of government, to coordinate their effort and to help each country do better than we could possibly do alone.”

Over 300 small businesses, entrepreneurs, ambassadors and key government, city and state department officials are attending.  Several African countries are sending delegations, including Angola, Libya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Botswana, Ethiopia, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea and Ghana.

“Our objective obviously is to make sure that private partnerships with neutral interests can get together for economic growth.  There are many countries in Africa, large and small, all of whom can play a role in this.  We’re not about the business of trying to lift up those who are already at the top.  We want those at the bottom to move up and those at the top to lend a hand down and pull up.”

The summit takes place February 23rd at Rice University’s Shell Auditorium and on February 24th at the International Trade Center on Bellaire.