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Audience urged to ‘invest in Africa’

By Jehron Muhammad -Contributing Writer- | Last updated: Mar 8, 2018 - 8:02:03 PM

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CHICAGO—Abdul Akbar Muhammad highlighted the importance of reconnecting with Africa’s heritage as he opened the “Doing Business in Africa and Abroad” workshop Feb. 24 at the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day Convention.

Panelists from the International Affairs Ministry share information during Saviours’ Day workshop, “Doing Business in Africa and Abroad.” Photo: Final X
“Your investment in a trip to Africa is an investment in your future and memory,” he said. “It’s something you’ll always be able to talk about because it will never leave your conscience mind.”

Akbar Muhammad lived and worked 12 years in Ghana and has traveled to 154 countries while functioning as the Nation of Islam’s international representative.

He also said the continent of Africa is now on everyone’s mind, partly because of President Donald Trump referring to the continent using profane language and the movie, “Black Panther.”

He said African leaders should have demanded an apology from Trump, adding that if they didn’t receive one they should have withdrawn their ambassadors.

The “Black Panther” movie has reignited an interest in everything African because of the movie’s incorporation of authentic African culture into the substance of the film, including the use of the South African language Xhosa, he added.

He introduced Yusef Muhammad, business professor and vice president of SCORE, the largest network of volunteer expert business mentors in the country Akbar Muhammad added that, if you have an American-based business and have potential for doing business on the African continent, or in the Caribbean or other parts of the world …  it’s a possibility your business can secure certain grants and free travel abroad. He said Yusef Muhammad “knows the ins-and-outs of how to make it happen.”

Yusef Muhammad, who teaches a three-hour Master of Business Administration (MBA) class, said, “You can travel to Africa free (if) you have an American-based business and have the potential for doing business on the African continent, in the Caribbean, or other parts of the world.”

To give “perspective” to the power of small business development, he said, “You always hear the cliché that small business is the engine of our economy.”  Last year over $2.2 trillion in goods and services were exported from the U.S. by small businesses and 97 percent of all U.S. exports come from small business, he said.

He referred the audience to, the website for the International Trade Association (ITA), an agency that operates under the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is connected to 22 resource agencies that small businesses will interface with when exploring the do’s and don’ts of creating an export business.  “This is a good resource when you’re trying to do market intelligence in the business (community) of another country,” he said.

Earl X Reddix, a financial advisor and real estate broker from California who has lived in Tanzania, said many people have misconceptions about Africa. During a PowerPoint presentation, he displayed negative images of Africa portrayed in the Western press.

Mr. Reddix, who, along with his investors, started out purchasing small scale mining concessions and is now operating a gold mine in the East African country, said, “The perception that we get is that Africa is a hopeless continent.” This is “the old adage of divide and conquer,” he said.

Europeans paint Africa in a negative light to keep Blacks away from doing business in Africa and to hide the fact that most of the world’s natural and mineral resources are based in Africa, he said.