Category: Leadership

Closing Africa’s Infrastructure financing gap – Rosa Whitaker at the 2022 AAM in Cairo 

Rosa Whitaker, Vice-Chair and President of Dominion Television, gave a passionate contribution to closing Africa’s infrastructure gap as a key panelist at the 29th Afreximbank Annual General Meetings (AAGM2022) in Cairo, Egypt, in the presence of His Excellency President Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi, a transformative leader of our time.

Whitaker detailed the actions required to accomplish this goal and shared her vision of a unified Africa inclusive of all members of the diaspora. “It is time for us to come together as one Africa, putting aside our differences and working towards a common goal.” She emphasized that if there is unity within the Diaspora and the Africans on the continent, our community would be a potent force by merging elements, the resources, and strengths- both economic and cultural, that bring us together. “In the United States, when I look at the African American community, we have 1.6 trillion dollars in consumer spending in income”, she stated.

BRIDGING THE FINANCIAL GAP BY LEVERAGING THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND TAX INCENTIVES

Rosa Whitaker shared that to bridge the gap, Africa should leverage their relationship with the United States by tapping its greatest strength, which is its bond market. She adds that “President Biden has proposed a similar initiative for infrastructure for Africa and the G7 group,” that the echo chamber must be traded around since it is a method for America and Western nations to advance without necessarily increasing their budget deficits.

One solution proposed by Whitaker is providing tax incentives to encourage the private sector to invest in businesses in Africa. Rosa Whitaker gave an illustration by noting that if an American business invests in infrastructure in Africa, it will be able to bring its earnings back to the US tax-free and receive some tax breaks.

Rosa Whitaker appreciates the African Export-Import Bank for hosting an outstanding Afreximbank Annual General Meetings (AAGM2022), complimenting the occasion as an excellent forum for the exchange of innovative ideas and showcasing remarkable work that is already in progress.

The 29th Afreximbank Annual General Meetings (AAGM2022) was held in Cairo, Egypt from June 14-18, 2022.

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An Interview with Melvin P. Foote, President and Chief Executive Officer of Constituency for Africa

Many people who have worked to improve their country and the globe can be found among the Peace Corps Returned Volunteers from Ethiopia and Eritrea.  Melvin P. Foote served in Eritrea and Ethiopia from 1973 to 1976 and was moved from Eritrea to Ethiopia during that time, and like many volunteers, he had a life-changing encounter that continues to have a significant impact on both his personal and professional life.

Early life                                                                                                                                                               

Melvin P. Foote, President and CEO of Constituency for Africa (CFA). Photo courtesy of africabusinessportal.com

For more than 40 years, Melvin P. Foote had worked in Africa and on African concerns. He is the founder and president of the Constituency for Africa (CFA), a 25-year-old network of businesses, associations, and people in Washington, D.C., dedicated to the development and empowering of Africa and Africans everywhere. The goal of the Constituency for Africa (CFA) is to increase public and private support for Africa and to influence U.S. policy toward the continent. The President’s Emergency Response to HIV/AIDS in Africa (PEPFAR), African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) are a few of the US government programs focused on Africa that were directly established by Melvin Foote and Constituency for Africa.

Achievements

Melvin P. Foote worked as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer and instructor in Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1973 to 1976 before establishing CFA. He worked as Africare’s representative in Somalia from 1981 until 1984. He served as Director of Constituency Development at Africare’s Washington headquarters from 1984 to 1994, which resulted in the establishment of CFA. Melvin  Foote took part in several high-level missions to Africa, serving on a White House delegation in 1994 to ascertain the genocide in Rwanda, as the mission’s leader in 1994 to forge a comprehensive peace agreement, on a well-known team in 1998 that decided to seek to put an end to the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea and a member of a Presidential mission to five African nations in 1998 to endorse U.S. trade with Africa and the African Growth and Opportunity Act, as the mission’s leader to forge a comprehensive peace agreement in Sudan in 2001, and the head of a mission sent to South Africa in 2003 to evaluate the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), a continental program to advance economic ties and growth.

Awards and honors

The “Order of the Lion” Award, the highest honor for public service bestowed by the government of Senegal, was given to Melvin Foote in 1998. He also received the Diggs Award for Foreign Affairs from the Congressional Black Caucus’ 2001 Annual Legislative Conference in appreciation of his exceptional dedication to and success in addressing problems and concerns relating to Africa. In addition to being a prolific writer of essays and editorials that are published in newspapers and publications throughout America, Melvin Foote is an often-sought speaker on radio and television.

Impact

To put an end to the war that had claimed about ten thousand (10,000) lives, Melvin Foote traveled to Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2010 with a representative of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers which included Hon. John Garamendi, a current California member of congress, the late Michael McCaskey, whose family owns the Chicago Bears NFL team, and Circuit Court Judge Bill Canby. The delegation met with the leaders of both major parties and pushed them to think about a way to peace.

Constituency for Africa (CFA)

Melvin P. Foote. Source: nkafu.org

Melvin P. Foote who is the President and CEO of Constituency for Africa (CFA) has for many years pioneered a widely acclaimed series of Town Hall Meetings on Africa, which have taken place in several cities and towns across the United States. Constituency for Africa (CFA) organizes the Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference, both of which take place in Washington, D.C., in September each year. The series has persevered in offering a particular platform for Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) officials and their staff to connect with entities with an African concentration, African diplomats and government policymakers, and grassroots community leaders.

The Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series was held in mid-September 2020 by Constituency for Africa (CFA), and one session will be of interest to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and prospective recruits. The African American Peace Corps’ function in the post-pandemic Peace Corps. The collection bears the name of the late Ronald H. Brown, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and US Secretary of Commerce under the Clinton administration.

Along with Dr. Darlene Grant, who was recently hired by the Peace Corps as the Senior Advisor to the President to help with the strategic development and address issues of diversity in the institution, featured presenters scheduled for the event included Congresswoman Karen D. Bass (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and Chair of the House Sub-committee on Africa and Global Health. Sadly, Hon. Bass had to leave for a crucial meeting, but he did attend the meeting on September 18 with Dr. John Nkengasong, the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to review a briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak in Africa.

The discussion was timely despite being always pertinent, but it was especially so in light of recent occurrences like the worldwide evacuation of over 7,000 Peace Corps Volunteers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the resultant Black Lives Matter demonstrations that took place in many different cities across the United States and the rest of the world. As a result of these incidents, issues of racism and diversity have come under scrutiny inside the Peace Corps as well as other branches of the United States government.

The speakers and panelists presented their thoughts and suggestions for policy reforms as the Peace Corps reemerges after the COVID-10 pandemic passes, reviewed strategies for expanding the recruitment of African Americans and other minorities and discussed ways for doing so.

Melvin P. Foote’s Interview in Ghana

On Dominion Television, Melvin P. Foote speaks with Ama K. Abebrese about his career life and journey within the Diaspora.

Visit our website www.dominiontv.net for more inspiring and empowering content.

African Women In Leadership: Rosa Whitaker

Rosa Whitaker is recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts on African trade, investment and business. Rosa is currently President and CEO of The Whitaker Group (TWG), a leading transaction advisory, investment and project development firm specializing in Africa, which she founded in 2003.  As Vice-Chairwoman of Dominion Television, Rosa leads the operations and management of the network, establishing innovative and sustainable solutions that create economic prosperity while promoting social equity and environmental stewardship.

Let’s dive into her leadership journey:

1- Whose Career Inspired You To Map Out Your Own Path In Leadership?

I was inspired early on by a famous US Congresswoman and civil rights leader named Barbara Jordan.  She was exceptionally amazing and was the most eloquent and impactful speaker I had ever heard.   Her words resonated with power and a force that I didn’t know was possible from the perspective of a young teenager.   She also commanded many “firsts” – including being the first African American woman from the South to be elected to Congress and the first woman to deliver a keynote address at a national convention for a major political party. 

She was a voice for the vulnerable and a fighter for those who were without power.  As a young girl, I would sit in Congressional hearing rooms just to hear her. It helped that we shared the same birthday. She removed the lid of limitations from my life and in no small measure because of her, I never doubted what I could become.

2- Leadership in America vs Leadership in Africa – They Mean Two Different Things More So As A Woman, What Are The Key Differences In Your Field?

In both Africa and in America, there is much diversity in leadership.  I can generally note the traits that I most admire in African leadership and particularly among women.  I admire ability of African woman to surround themselves with supportive communities.  It is natural for an African woman leader to constantly have a large host of family and friends encouraging and supporting her.   Leadership is not as lonely in this regard.   Another distinctive feature I’ve noticed in African leaders is generally an unabashed confession of their faith.  

Faith in Africa is generally not siloed or compartmentalized—faith, particularly among African women, is woven like a tapestry throughout their lives as business, ministry, civil society, home, or political leaders.  Rarely will you see an African woman walk into a board room or political office and leave her faith at home?

I believe that women in America, particularly African American women, have inspired the world through their strength, resilience, and seemingly inexhaustible energy to fight for equality in opportunities and rights.  American women, in my view, generally have an admirable unshakeable  confidence. 

The labor of American women has not been in vain – while there is much more to achieve, the progress of American women, across sectors and socio-economic indicators, has been remarkable.  I believe women in America have helped to lift women around the world.   

3: What Has Been The Most Challenging Leadership Role In Your Life And Why?

Dominion TV certainly represents the most humbling, challenging yet rewarding, and inspiring leadership challenge for me.   It feels like flying the plane while repairing it at the same time.   We are literally taking something that had already started as a ministry media and transforming it into a full-fledged impactful Christian lifestyle tv and multimedia network.  The normal metrics that I would consider for business success are different;

With Dominion TV we are not only looking at viewership, captive eyeballs, advertisements, and revenue. We are looking to change lives and impact the way people live and think.   

We are launching a movement for empowered and inspired living with faith as the fuel.   I am also inspired and challenged every day by the many young talented creatives who work for Dominion TV; we are from different generations and from different places on the planet—our thinking and languages are quite different.   They, however, represent the demographic of Dominion’s audience – young Africans between the ages of 18-40.  In many instances, my team of young content creators is the teachers and I am the student.  

4: What Role Has Faith Played In Your Success As A Leader?

Faith has everything to do with my success as a leader.  I don’t believe for a minute that I could be successful without Christ.   I also know that He has granted me and others success for a reason.  My life is, therefore, devoted to His purpose.  One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  This says it all!

5: What Have You Learned In Leadership Over The Years That You Wish You Could Tell The Younger Version Of Yourself To Make The Road Easier?

I would tell my younger self: “find your identity in Christ – know that God has created you in His own image”. Therefore, you have great value and unique gifts. Mute the voice of anyone who would attempt to denigrate you or try to diminish your light and confidence.  I would also tell my young self to have a voracious appetite for learning!  You never know in the future what learning you will need – so learn everything that’s constructive and productive.

But learning means very little if you have bad habits. Address bad habits while you are young. Otherwise, they become huge obstacles when you are older and often at the peak of your potential.  I have seen poor habits sink many talented & smart people. 

Start your day with God in praise and thanksgiving – this is a habit that transforms.   

What If You Could Lead Like God…

Most high school syllabi reveal to students three types of leadership styles. The autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire leadership styles are the most prominent categories of leadership. The autocratic style is dictatorial, democratic leadership gives the decision making power directly to its people or indirectly through representatives. The laissez-faire leadership is hands-off with occasional checks from the leader. Which type of these does God subscribe to? In order to make an informed judgment on what God’s type of leadership may be, we would analyze biblical texts that embody God’s leadership.Read More

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