audrey-edmonson_web-1.jpgMIAMI — A trade delegation from the African nation of Malawi recently visited Miami for talks with government and business leaders.

Miami-Dade County Commission Vice Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson and members of the Miami-Dade Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) hosted the visitors on April 1 at the Stephen P. Clark Center in downtown Miami.

The meeting was part of Miami-Dade’s long involvement in working to strengthen trade and cultural ties with the African continent, according to a county statement.

According to the statement, the discussions centered on several topics, including the U.S. government’s Africa Growth and Opportunity Act of 2000 that offers incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets.

The talks also included the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s approval of $350.7 million agreement with Malawi to revitalize that country’s power sector.  The agreement could provide U.S. companies with opportunities to do business in the African nation.

Those attending the meeting included Jimmy Nares, assistant director of OEDIT; Anthony D. Okonmah, Fred Oladeinde and Sonny Wright of the Foundation for Democracy in Africa; Patrick Mphepo, first Secretary of trade and investment in the Malawi embassy in the U.S.; and Malawi’s deputy ambassador to the U.S., Jane Nankwenya.

The Foundation for Democracy in Africa, which is based in Washington, D.C., has an office in Miami. Its stated mission is to promote democracy, sustainable development and economic growth throughout Africa.

The organization will hold the 14th annual AfriCANDO Trade and Investment Symposium in Miami on Sept. 15-16.

The Malawians also called on the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, where Oladeinde explained at a roundtable discussion on business opportunity in Malawi that the foundation established offices in Miami-Dade in 1996.

The group partnered with public and private sector organizations to use Florida’s strategic location and proximity to Africa to expand US-Africa trade and investment, he said in a statement, a copy of which was posted on the foundation’s Web site. “Since 1996, we have worked diligently to position Miami-Dade as the gateway to trade and investment with the nations of Africa,” Oladeinde said.
“Through our annual AfriCANDO trade and investment symposiums, we have hosted African leaders from government and the private sector in Miami, worked with the county to establish the Sister Seaport Partnerships between the Port of Miami and the ports of Dakar, Senegal; Lagos, Nigeria; Cape town, South Africa; and others and the Sister Airports Partnerships between Miami Intenational Airport and Muritala [Muhammed] International Airport [in Nigeria].

“We have also labored for the passage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), in 2000, and have since served as the secretariat of the AGOA Civil Society Network.”