(NNPA)—President Obama hosted the first ever U.S.-Africa Business forum last week here in Washington, DC. Leading up to the conference, the U.S. Commerce Department announced:, “On August 5, 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the U.S. Department of Commerce will co-host the first-ever U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on trade and investment opportunities on the continent. The U.S.-Africa Business Forum will be part of President Obama’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the first summit of its kind, and the largest event that any U.S. president has ever convened with African heads of state or government.”
I must admit that the various panels consisted of executives who all had a track record of great achievement. Panelists included Americans, Indians, Africans, and women. But, I couldn’t help but notice that there was not one Black American on any of the panels.
Not only has the first Black president continued to ignore his most loyal voting block, the Black community, but by his actions he has made it perfectly clear to African leaders that Black business leaders are totally irrelevant within the U.S.
There was not shortage of Blacks who could have fit the bill: Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express; Dick Parson, former CEO of Time Warner; Dave Steward, CEO of World Wide Technology ($ 6 billion in annual revenue); Junior Bridgeman, owner of 195 Wendys (doing more than $ 500 million in annual revenue); Bob Johnson, CEO of RLJ Holdings, who has already invested money in hotels in Liberia.