The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce held a Power Africa B2B Summit in Charlotte, NC, on September 10th that brought together representatives from African nations, U.S. government officials and local businesses to discuss opportunities which may exist for companies interested in participating in the Power Africa initiative. Vicky McPherson, a shareholder in the Greenberg TraurigWashington, D.C. office, spoke as a panelist at the summit. Ms. McPherson also participated in another Power Africa B2B Summit event held in Miami, FL, earlier this year. During her remarks, she highlighted common mistakes made by companies as they expand their business into African markets and recommended that they take advantage of U.S. government resources, such as the U.S. Commercial Service and other U.S. trade agencies, during the early stages of expansion.

Rick Angiuoni, the Africa regional director at the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), spoke to participants about the resources available to U.S. exporters from EXIM – provided the export transactions meet EXIM’s three C’s: country, content and credit. Described briefly, this means the service will be performed in or products will be exported to a qualified countryContentrefers to the likelihood of the transaction creating U.S. jobs. Credit refers to the ability of the company to repay any debt secured from EXIM. Representatives from the local MBDA Business Center also described the services available to help large, medium and small businesses owned and operated by members of the minority communities that are looking for ways to penetrate new markets – domestic and global. There are 40 centers around the United States.

Candace Shriver, special advisor to MBDA’s national director, explained that these B2B events are a series being sponsored by MBDA in an effort to foster the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses. The events are focused on identifying Power Africa opportunities for U.S. companies along the various phases of the entire value chain of a power project. Martin Ezemma, a business development specialist with the MBDA, informed the participants that future events will be held in Phoenix, AZ, on October 23-24, 2014, sponsored by the Phoenix MBDA Business Center, and in Golden, CO, on November 13-14, 2014, that may be of interest to companies looking for business opportunities indirectly or directly stemming from Power Africa.