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Africa Program sponsors black business conference

Seminar highlights domestic, foreign entrepreneurship

by Sally Claunch
sxc8239@exchange.uta.edu
The Shorthorn staff

Alusine Jalloh, Africa Program director, wants to dispel some of the myths regarding black business practices in Africa and the United States.

"When people read about Africa, it is about wars and famine," he said. "People don't know that there are business opportunities in Africa. There are a lot of stereotypes on black entrepreneurs in Africa and the U.S."

To this end, The Africa Program is sponsoring the International Conference on Black Business in Africa and the United States from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the Red River Room in the University Center.

Nationally recognized scholars and business people from around the world will present perspectives on the growth, history and opportunities of black entrepreneurs in both Africa and the United states. The conference will feature presentations, panel discussions and information on conducting business between the United States and Africa.

The conference is free and open to students and community members. For more information, call the Africa Program office at (817) 272-5302.

Bob Tinney, Africa Program senior administrative clerk, said he expects about 300 people to attend each day.

Tinney said the conference will enlighten people about the advantages of doing business with African businesses.

"Africa wants to do business with us more than any other nation on the planet," he said. "A $1 investment in Africa will give an 11 percent higher return than anywhere else in the world."

The meeting will also emphasize the need to economically empower all people of African descent, said Jalloh. He explained that the future is promising for black businesses.

In 1998, for example, African Americans earned a total income of over $400 billion, he said.

"We will present a better understanding of business opportunities from both history and contemporary perspectives in both African and African-American communities," he said.

Liberal Arts Dean Ruth Gross, will be an arbiter for the panel discussion on modern entrepreneurship. She said the conference will inform people that Africa is an important emerging trading partner for the United States.

"This is a very exciting new market," she said. "It opens up great opportunities in world trade and scholarship that haven't been explored in the last 20 years."

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