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DeKalb County Leverages Diversity to Connect with Africa

County’s First International Economics Forum Explores Opportunities for Business Expansion and Relationship Building

Atlanta 10/22/2013 5:13:55 AM

The Development Authority of DeKalb County (DADC), in partnership with DeKalb County Government, several leading businesses, and prestigious Emory and Mercer Universities will co-present the 2013 International Economics Forum, entitled Emerging Africa, Expanding DeKalb on Thursday, October 24, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive Decatur, GA 30030.

“In our effort to expand economic prosperity for the county and its citizens, this forum will be a dialogue on how we enhance business expansion, job growth, and quality of life for DeKalb through creating stronger connections with African nations, businesses, and individuals,” said Vaughn D. Irons, DADC Chairman.

“One of our key priorities in DeKalb County is creating job growth through economic development.  This forum is a means of achieving this goal through dialog and collaboration,” said DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May.  “I am keenly interested in the outcomes and how DeKalb can prosper through this global outreach.”

Hosted by DADC, the first annual International Economics Forum will offer attendees an opportunity to get an in-depth look into the global economy and the connections for DeKalb with relevance to local businesses, residents and opinion leaders. Key topics will include education, international trade, medical innovations, venture capital for new businesses, sustainability, and real estate.

Emerging Africa, Expanding DeKalb has two components: There will be two panel discussions as well as a forum with a question and answer session with the audience. Confirmed panelists include Stan Watson, DeKalb District 7 Commissioner; Ambassador  Geoffrey Teneilabe, Nigerian Ambassador; Donald Nay, Director, U.S. Export Assistance Center (U.S. Department of Commerce); Robert Brunner, Vice-President of Arik Air (West Africa’s largest airline); VuVu Manseka, Chairman and co-founder of the African Diaspora network at Coca-Cola; Dr. Etienne Musonera, Professor of International Economics at Mercer Business School; Dr. Sam Cherribi, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Emory Development Initiative; Boye Akinola, AIA, President of Boye Architecture, Inc; and Bunmi Jinadu, President of Interglobe Media.  These professional and community leaders will discuss the similarities and differences between the county and the continent, areas for mutual understanding, the local and international business environment, and the relationship with residents and government, specifically, how things have changed and how things can improve.  DeKalb Presiding Officer Sharon Barnes Sutton will welcome participants and guests as the program begins and Nell Diallo, Vice President of DeKalb County-based MedShare is the confirmed keynote speaker.

“Africa is a continent of emerging markets coming together. These markets have a historic connection with Georgia, specifically DeKalb County, and the Diaspora community is in a position to lend the intellectual and human capital for a more robust connection,” says Jinadu. He added: “That is why the International Economic Forum is important: To forge connections and long-term relationships between the two places.”

DeKalb is evolving into one of Georgia’s most culturally diverse communities. More than 64 languages representing cultures including Asian, Hispanic, European and African are spoken in DeKalb on a daily basis.  With 20 percent of DeKalb residents being foreign-born, the county is seeking to leverage resources for these communities as well as tap into their expertise to increase wealth opportunities.

A complimentary opening reception will precede the event in the Maloof Auditorium pre-function area. Food and refreshments from East and West African nations will be featured. This event is free and open to the public. Early registration is encouraged through EventBrite at https://dadcas.eventbrite.com, however walk-up attendance is also welcome.  For more information, contact the event coordinator at (404) 687-2738.

About the Development Authority of DeKalb County (DADC)

The DADC leverages private sector investments by issuing bonds to assist businesses acquiring property or equipment. The DADC collaborates with various partners, local and statewide, including the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and The DeKalb County Office of Economic Development, and DeKalb County Government, as well as DeKalb-based chambers of commerce, business associations, utility companies, colleges and universities, large private sector employers, as well as neighborhood and community groups. For more information, please visit www.DecideDeKalb.com.

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