Doing Business in Fast-Growing Africa Conference, Friday, April 27 at UNCC

For the first time and as part of Charlotte Africa Business Week 2012, Charlotte is host to a major conference on doing business in Africa. Doing Business in Fast-Growing Africa: A Focus on Regional Markets and Economic Hubs is organized by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Afribiz, Global Business Roundtable, and Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is being held on Friday, April 27, 2012 at the UNC Charlotte Center City Campus at 320 E. 9th Street from 9 am to 5pm.

Charlotte’s competitive strengths in Banking, Finance, and Investment, Energy, Healthcare, Education, Technology, as well as the State of North Carolina’s additional strengths in these areas and agriculture, match many of the needs of the fast growing African continent with a population over 1 billion and annual GDP of over $1 trillion. In several countries in Africa, the middle class is growing faster and has greater purchasing power than the middle class in China or India. Also, seven of the fastest growing economies (Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Congo) in the world for the next five years are in Africa, according to The Economist. The Economist expects the Africa region to overtake the Asia region in growth within five years.

Albert Essien, Deputy CEO of Ecobank (the largest Pan-African bank by geography on the continent and assets of $17.2 Billion), is the opening keynote speaker. He is joined by other notable business leaders – Sipho Mseleku, President of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Global Business Roundtable and Zemedeneh Negatu, Managing Partner of Ethiopia and Head of Transaction Advisory Services Eastern Africa for Ernst and Young. Also, local Charlotte, African American author of “Redefining Business in the New Africa and Going Global on a Dime,” Lauri Elliott, will also be speaking.

Speaker biographies are available on request. Speakers are also available for on-air interviews on Thursday, April 26, 2012.

The one-day program is divided into panels covering West & Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa, as well as general and special focus sessions. Expert panelists share insights and tips for doing business in Africa covering franchising, banking, entrepreneurship, impact and social investing, agriculture, energy, ICT, economic zones, infrastructure, consumer markets, etc.

Media are invited to attend and cover the conference all day. A special time between 10 am and noon has been set aside for individual media interviews with speakers and VIPs. (Interviews can also be done at other times during the day.)

For further information on event, go to

About Conference Schedule

9:00 am – 10:30 am
The New Africa (welcome, keynote speaker, and opening session speakers)
10:30 am – 10:45 am
10:45 am – 11:15 am
Special Focus: Business and Opportunities in DR Congo
11:15 am – 11:45 am
Special Focus: Business and Opportunities in Nigeria (proposed)
11:45 am – 12:15 pm
Special Focus: Business and Opportunities in Ethiopia
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm
1:15 pm – 2:15 pm
Focus on Fast-Growing East Africa (Panel)
2:15 pm – 2:30 pm
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Focus on Fast-Growing West & Central Africa (Panel)
3:30 pm – 3:45 pm
3:45 pm – 4:45 pm
Focus on Fast-Growing Southern Africa (Panel)
4:45 pm – 5:00 pm
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Networking and Open Dialogue

Confirmed Speakers

• Daniel Anagho, President of African Investment Corporation, speaking on opportunities and nuances of doing business in Cameroon & Central Africa, as well as his role with OPIC
• Chief Tunde Adetunji, Founder of Africa Heritage Foundation, serving as an opening session speaker on the topic, “Why Africa Matters to the Global Economy”
• General Roger Blunt, CEO of Essex Construction and a board member of Corporate Council on Africa, serving as an opening session speaker on the topic, “Why Africa Matters to American Business”
• William Carter, Africa Diamond Leader at Ashoka, speaking on social entrepreneurship in East Africa and how to leverage these networks to do business on the continent
• Lauri Elliott, CEO of Conceptualee, Inc. and Director of Afribiz, serving as Mistress of Ceremonies and discussing ICT across sectors in East Africa
• Albert Essien, Deputy CEO of Ecobank, serving as keynote speaker and discussing banking, finance, and investment in West Africa
• Claude Ibalanky, CEO of Bantu Investments, speaking on developing retail products for informal consumer markets in Southern Africa
• Sipho Mseleku, Chairman of Global Business Roundtable and President of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, discussing business landscape and opportunities in Southern Africa and as luncheon keynote speaker
• Kabala Mselemu, Deputy Manager of Ministry of Mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, leading a special focus session on business opportunities in the DRC
• Zemedeneh Negatu, Managing Partner at Ernst & Young Ethiopia and Head of Transaction Advisory Services of Eastern Africa, leading a special focus session on doing business in Ethiopia
• Troy Pelshak, CEO of Amana Global Services and former NFL player, speaking on preparing for dynamics of doing business in West Africa
• Richard Schroeder, CEO of First Step Special Economic Zone, speaking on using economic zones in West Africa to do business in Africa
• Hartmut Sieper, CEO of Trans Africa Invest, speaking on the key capital markets in East Africa
• Rob Smith, Founder and Director of Earthwise Ventures, speaking on infrastructure in East Africa
• Carol Tappenden, CEO of Nexii, speaking on innovative impact and social enterprise investment options in Southern Africa
• Kendal Tyre, Partner at the law firm of Nixon Peabody LLP, and Chair/Founder of Lex Noir, speaking on franchising in Southern Africa