The first Texas Africa Business Summit started yesterday in Houston with Congressman Al Green (TX-09) as one of its Honorary Chairs. It brought together diplomatic representatives from various African countries such as Angola, Egypt, Ghana and Senegal. The summit also included local entrepreneurs, such as Wea Lee, chairman of Houston’s International Trade Center, which organized the event.
“This event is the result of the coordinated efforts between two great visionaries, Ethiopia’s Honorary Consul General Gezahgen Kebede and Houston businessman Wea Lee. While Kebede was interested in developing a partnership between Texas and Africa, Mr. Wea Lee envisioned creating an international business district in Houston. Together, these two men formed a summit which will provide networking and follow-up opportunities for those who want to pursue business endeavors in Africa,” said Congressman Al Green in a video message broadcast at the opening of the event.
Enacted into law in May of 2000, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), has assisted the economies of sub-Saharan Africa by promoting business relationships between the region and the United States. In 2008, U.S. total imports from sub-Saharan Africa exceeded $86 billion, while American exports to the region reached approximately $18.6 billion. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas ranks as the top exporter to the continent of Africa, having sold $7.2 billion worth of goods and services in 2008.
The summit ends today, Wednesday February 24th, and has included numerous presentations and panel discussions to analyze the entrepreneurial opportunities in areas such as energy, tourism, transportation and infrastructure.