African diplomats shun Black business owners

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(NNPA)—Last week I attended a very nice reception hosted by two of my friends, Rosa Whitaker and Bernadette Paolo. Rosa is CEO and President of the Whitaker Group, a Washington, D.C.- based consultancy specializing in trade and investment in Africa. She previously served as the first Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa in the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2010, Whitaker was named one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers.

Paolo succeeded the former president and Founder of The Africa Society, Leonard H. Robinson Jr., in 2006, after his untimely death. Prior to assuming her new position, Paolo served as Vice President of The Africa Society and Vice President of The National Summit on Africa.

At the event promoted as “Reception, Tribute and Discussion for East Africa’s Four New Female Ambassadors to the U.S.” The ambassadors honored were Mathilde Mukantabana of Rwanda, Liberata Mulamula of Tanzania, Oliver Wonekha of Uganda, and Jean Kamau of Kenya.

Each of these women has a fascinating background and sterling accomplishments.

For those who are not followers of Africa, it’s important to remember that the continent of Africa is extremely patriarchal. Women are barely beginning to be welcomed into decision making positions in government, business, and politics, etc. In many African countries, women’s roles in society are clearly defined, with most of their roles being relegated to motherhood and the raising of the children.

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