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Speakers BIOS:

Hon. Roy Kachale Banda

Minister of Industry of the Republic of Malawi 

Honourable Roy Akajuwe Kachale Banda is Malawi’s Minister of Industry to which he was appointed in July, 2020 by His Excellency, Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, the President of the Republic of Malawi.

Honourable Roy Kachale Banda is in Charge of advancing Malawi’s Industrialization agenda. He previously served in the Private Sector as Managing Director of Joyce Banda Foundation.

He holds a BSC in Accounting, Lincoln University, Master’s Degree in Finance and Control, Amity University and studying MPhil in Development Finance with the University of Stellenbosch Business School in South Africa.


Governor Tim Walz

Governor of the State of Minnesota

Tim Walz is Minnesota’s 41st Governor. His career has been defined by public service, from serving our country in the military to serving our students as a high-school teacher and football coach to serving our state in Congress.

Born in a small town in rural Nebraska, Tim’s parents instilled in him the values that guide his commitment to common good and selfless service. Soon after his high school graduation, Tim enlisted in the Army National Guard. Tim attended Chadron State College, where he graduated with a social science degree in 1989. Harvard University offered Tim an opportunity to gain a new perspective on global education by teaching in the People’s Republic of China from 1989-90, where he joined of one of the first government-approved groups of American teachers to work in Chinese high schools. Upon his return from China to Nebraska, Tim served full time in the Army National Guard, and accepted a teaching and coaching position. More importantly, he met his wife, Gwen Whipple, who was teaching at the same school.

Tim and Gwen Walz moved to Mankato in 1996, where they began working at Mankato West High School. In addition to teaching social studies, Tim helped coach the Mankato West football team that won the school’s first state championship. After 24 years in the Army National Guard, Command Sergeant Major Walz retired from the 1-125th Field Artillery Battalion in 2005.

Tim won his first election to the United States House of Representatives in 2006, and was re-elected for another 5 terms serving Minnesota’s First Congressional District. In addition to his work on the Farm Bill, the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System, Minnesota Highway 14, and the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Preston (MN), Tim introduced the STOCK Act, a bill that sought to limit congressional insider trading. On March 22, 2012, the STOCK Act passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.

After years of living in Mankato, Tim and Gwen moved to St. Paul with their two children, Hope and Gus, and their rescue pets, Scout and Afton.

Travis Adkins

Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau of Africa, USAID

Previously, he was a Lecturer of African and Security Studies at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He also taught in the Georgetown Prison Scholars Program, as part of the university’s Prisons & Justice Initiative. As an international development leader, he has two decades of experience working in governance, civil society and refugee and migration affairs in over 50 nations throughout Africa and the Middle East. This includes serving as Staff Director of the House Subcommittee on Africa, working with leading international NGOs and think tanks, as well as within several branches of the United Nations system.

He is an alumnus of the International Affairs Fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a recipient of academic appointments from Carnegie Mellon and New York Universities. 

Mr. Adkins has served in numerous international election observation missions in Africa and the Middle East with the National Democratic Institute, has been a regular contributor to national and international media outlets on African affairs, and is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a graduate of Fisk University, one of our nation's illustrious Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

Dean Philips 

U.S. Congressman Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District

Dean Phillips is a father, businessman, civic leader, eternal optimist, and Representative for Minnesota's Third Congressional District.

A Gold Star Son who lost his birth father, Artie, in the Vietnam War, Dean was adopted into the Phillips family when his mother DeeDee married Eddie Phillips, who raised Dean to work hard and always share success.

Dean attended Brown University before returning to Minnesota to earn his MBA from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Business. After working at a variety of small startups, he joined his family business, Phillips Distilling, where he worked his way up and eventually led. He later went on to help build Talenti Gelato into one of the top-selling ice cream brands in the country. He is now co-owner of Penny's Coffee, a small business with three locations in the Twin Cities and is active in the philanthropic community in Minnesota through the Phillips Family Foundation. 

In Congress, Dean is focused on restoring Americans' faith in our government. He's on a mission to inspire a new era of collaboration in Washington and end the corrupting influence of special interest money in our politics. Dean is Vice Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and is a member of the House Ethics, Small Business, and Foreign Affairs Committees, as well as the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Dean has shown his commitment to providing leadership and working across the aisle. During the summer of 2020, Dean wrote the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act with Texas Republican Chip Roy. Signed by President Trump into law, this critical piece of legislation has helped save thousands of small businesses. Dean has been a voice for oversight and transparency of the trillions of pandemic-related stimulus dollars, and has led the Problem Solvers Caucus in negotiations with the White House and Congressional leadership to deliver bipartisan solutions for the American people. In June, Dean was recognized for his efforts by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with the Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship.

Dean has two college-age daughters, Daniela and Pia. He lives in Deephaven, Minnesota with his wife, Annalise, and Henry the Norwich Terrier. 

Algene T. Sajery 

Ms. Algene T. Sajery serves as Vice President of the Office of External Affairs at DFC. In this capacity, Ms. Sajery leads a team of public affairs, intergovernmental relations, and stakeholder engagement professionals. Together they cultivate DFC’s relationships with Congress, federal agencies, the business community, civil society groups, and other key stakeholders to advance DFC’s mission. Ms. Sajery is also head of DFC's Global Gender Equity Initiatives and supports diversity efforts in the agency. As a member of the DFC’s Executive Leadership Team, Ms. Sajery holds a seat on the DFC's Investment Committee, providing input on all projects valued at more than $20 million, and engages with the agency’s Board of Directors.

Ms. Sajery is a seasoned foreign policy and national security policy expert with over 20 years of legislative and political affairs experience in the U.S. Congress, political campaigns, and in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining DFC, she owned a small business specializing in strategic advisory services.

A native of Liberia, West Africa who came to the U.S. at age three as a political asylee, Ms. Sajery has dedicated her career to advancing human rights, rule of law, global health, food security, and economic development in the developing world. From 2012 to 2020, Ms. Sajery served as senior foreign policy and national security advisor to U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD). From 2015 to 2018, she concurrently served as Democratic Policy Director of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (SFRC), becoming the first African American woman to serve in a senior leadership role on the prestigious committee.

Ms. Sajery previously held several leadership roles in the House of Representatives, including as Democratic Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights; Chief of Staff and Legislative Director to Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY); and Press Secretary to the late Congressman John Conyers (MI). A highly effective legislative strategist and coalition builder, Ms. Sajery has drafted or negotiated several landmark foreign policy, national security, and international economic development laws.

In her spare time, Ms. Sajery hosts a podcast highlighting the journeys of women of color changemakers in politics and policymaking. She previously served on the Executive Committee of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security, and is a member of Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security, Black Women’s Congressional Alliance, the Win with Black Women Collective, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Ms. Sajery holds bachelor’s degrees in English and African American Studies from Howard University, completed graduate studies in Global Security at John Hopkins University, and obtained Harvard Kennedy School's certification for senior executives in national and international security. She is in the 2020-2021 cohort of the National Security Scholars and Practitioners Program, a thought leadership program of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Strategic Studies.

Emel Lyons 

Emel Lyons has been with the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) since 1996. During this time, she has worked on agricultural trade policy, trade capacity building, and marketing which all contribute to the strategic vision of advancing United States agricultural
interests on the global stage. Ms. Lyons is currently the Senior Director of the Europe, Africa, and Middle East Division (EAMED) in the Trade Policy and Geographic Affairs program area within FAS. EAMED serves as the lead office for agriculture with respect to formal bilateral trade negotiations, the enforcement of trade agreements and diplomatic engagement in approximately 120 countries seeking to preserve and expand U.S. agricultural exports opportunities.

Ms. Lyons is a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia and currently lives in the Maryland suburbs. She holds a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She enjoys traveling, is addicted to line dancing, and enjoys every minute she gets to spend with her wonderful family.

Her Excellency Ambassador Arikana Chihombori Quao, MD

Founder and President of the African Diaspora Development Institute (ADDI)

Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of ADDI, Her Excellency Arikana Chihombori Quao MD is a medical doctor (having practised medicine for over twenty-five years), founder and owner of medical clinics, diplomat, public speaker, educator and an entrepreneur. She is also an author and her recently published book Africa 101: The Wake-Up Call is a best seller on Amazon.

Prior to this, in her role as Permanent Representative to the African Union Mission in Washington DC (2016-2019), Her Excellency Arikana Chihombori Quao MD worked tirelessly towards fulfilling her mandate which was to undertake, develop and maintain relationships between the African Union and the Executive and Legislative branches of the US Government, the African Diplomatic Corps, the Africans in the Diaspora and the Bretton Woods Institutions. This was specifically in relation to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and advancing the priority areas of Agenda 2063. Her efforts at mobilizing the Diaspora as people of African descent and not as citizens of any single African country is unprecedented and exemplifies her ability to unify people around a common goal, speaking with one voice as one Africa and one Continent.

Before her appointment as AU Ambassador, H. E. Arikana Chihombori Quao MD contributions to the cause of Africa had earned her many prestigious honors and awards. She has two awards which she cherishes the most. The first one was the Achievement Award which she received in 1996 from the incumbent President at the time, H.E. the late President Nelson Mandela of the Republic of South Africa.
On the stage as she received the Award were both President Mandela and President Mugabe of the Republic of Zimbabwe. The second on was the African Woman of Excellence Award which she received in July 2015 during the AU Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. She received this award alongside 15 other prominent African Women including the former President of The Republic of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the former President of The Republic of Malawi, Madam Joyce Banda, Mama Winnie Mandela (Republic of South Africa), Mama Ngina Kenyatta (Republic of Kenya) Mama Asigwe Anyiam (Federal Republic of Nigeria) and Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (Republic of South Africa).

During her 3-year tenure as AU Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Ambassador Arikana Chihombori Quao MD received over one hundred awards and attestations from many organizations including from the African Diaspora within the Americas. She received the 2018 Ambassador of the Year Award from Howard University in Washington DC. She also received numerous recognitions from Members of Congress as well as Governors, Mayors and County Executives from across the United States as well as the Caribbean and South America.

The African Continent is also recognizing the noble contributions that H.E. Ambassador Arikana Chihombori Quao MD is making to the development of Africa as evidenced by the following accolades. In January 2020, after being featured having “A Profile in Courage”; H.E. Ambassador Arikana Chihombori Quao MD was honored to be named 2019 Person of the Year by The Guardian Newspaper which is the
largest Newspaper in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In an article published on June 12 2020 by Eye Gambia, a reputable Gambian newspaper, H.E. Ambassador Arikana Chihombori Quao MD was listed fourth amongst their list of ten most influential Africans for 2019. She was the only female to make this list. Reputation Poll, a leading global reputation-management firm in its July 29th 2020 release of the 2020 list of 100 Most Reputable Africans also features H.E. Ambassador Arikana Chihombori Quao MD as one of the most reputable Africans.

She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a member of the American Association of Family Physicians as well as the Tennessee Association of Family Physicians. Her Excellency Arikana Chihombori Quao MD was born and raised in Zimbabwe where she attained her primary and secondary education. She then left Zimbabwe for the United States of America where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in General Chemistry, a Master’s Degree in Organic Chemistry as well as a Doctor of Medicine Degree.

Her Excellency Ambassador Arikana Chihombori Quao MD is married to her Ghanaian husband and is a proud mother of five children and a very happy grandmother of five grandchildren.

Dr. Lawson Fatima

Board Chairwoman of Minnesota Africans United

Dr. Fatima Lawson, a community member, school administrator and adjunct professor, has had a long, winding journey to education. She was born and raised in northern Nigeria, in a community where (Western) education was often discouraged, particularly for young women and girls. However, driven by her curiosity and thirst for knowledge, she first completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Ife in Nigeria, and then continued to complete another master's and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, U.S.A.


Today, as a Minnesota-based educator, in addition to teaching at other Twin-Cities institutions, Fatima keeps busy as a principal with the Saint Paul Public Schools. She draws on her lived experiences, bringing her international perspectives from around the world into the classroom and other educational settings, and finding ways to connect with her students, staff, and community members. She embraces the multiple experiences that co-exist within her adopted community. Apart from administration and teaching a variety of courses at the tertiary level, she finds whatever she brings to any educational space is quickly reflected on and absorbed through students who “match it with their interests, enthusiasm, and thirst for knowledge! She also devotes enormous amount of personal time and resources to contribute her own quota to improve the lives of immigrants in Minnesota and beyond.


When she takes off her professional mask, she enjoys reading, writing poetry, being with family and friends, eating with her fingers, traveling, and just being herself!

Basil Ajuo 

CEO, Minnesota Africans United

Basil Ajuo is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Minnesota Africans United.


Originally from the central African nation of Cameroon, Basil Ajuo has decades of experience in education, business development and nonprofit leadership management. In 2016, Basil Ajuo was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to serve the 4th largest U.S. Boards of Higher Education, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees. Basil Ajuo’s graduate degree is in public policy and advocacy through Metropolitan State University.


Basil Ajuo has served on many boards, including the Metropolitan Workforce Council, Center for Innovation and the Arts, and the Nellie Johnson Scholarship Foundation. A centerpiece of the MAU program has been serving Minnesota businesses that are interested in exporting and importing goods and services overseas with Africa.


In the course of his efforts, Basil Ajuo has organized and promoted many conferences and webinars to address key issues. Topics covered have been mining, agriculture, health care investment, educational exchanges, trade and investment in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, and other African Countries.


Basil Ajuo has promoted trade fairs and helped US companies understand the value of showcasing their products through these channels and advising African businesses who are interested in taking advantage of the US markets through the African Growth and Opportunity Act. These efforts have led to success for African diaspora companies willing to invest in their countries of origin and for midwestern companies as they expand their market into Africa.

Mark Ritchie 

President, Global Minnesota 

Mark Ritchie is president of Global Minnesota, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization devoted to advancing international understanding and engagement. A graduate of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Iowa State University, he served as Minnesota’s Secretary of State from 2007 to 2015. Since leaving elected public service, Mark has led the public-private partnership working to bring the 2027 World Expo to Minnesota, and he has served on the board of directors for LifeSource, Communicating for America, U.S. Vote Foundation, and Expo USA. Mark also is a national advisory board member of the federal Election Assistance Commission and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Minnesota. Mark is the appointed Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, representing Minnesota.

Christine Brown

Director, Trade Policy, U.S. Small Business Administration

Christine Brown is director for trade policy in the Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade. In this role, she leads a team dedicated to representing and protecting small business interests in trade negotiations and trade policy development and to providing assistance to U.S. small businesses confronting barriers to trade.


Christine came to SBA with 20 years of trade policy experience.  She previously worked at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, the Korea Economic Institute, and C&M International.


Christine received her Master’s Degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and her Bachelor’s Degree from Tufts University

Serge-Alain Wandji, PhD

Co-Founder, President & CEO, DiaspoCare, LLC

Serge is a co-founder, President and CEO of DiaspoCare, LLC, a startup in healthcare digital payments that leverages diaspora remittances to finance the delivery ofaffordable quality healthcare in Africa. Serge was recently vice president of strategy, business development and innovation at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.


Prior to that, Serge was senior intellectual asset manager at Cargill, responsible for technology commercialization, leading key digital transformation projects, intellectual property valuation, monetization and its strategic use in business development, M&As and partnerships. He previously served as a senior intellectual property associate for Colgate Palmolive Company, assistant director of technology development and assistant professor in the department of pharmacology at Penn State College of Medicine, Milton
S. Hershey Medical Center where he co-founded Verefi Technology, a company that developed surgical simulators.

Serge-Alain was co-founder and COO of NextPakk, a last-mile package delivery service that uses blockchain. He is currently Chairman of the board of Agricycle Global, a member of the Steering Committee of ScaleHealth and an advisor at Jukko.

Serge holds a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science, a Master of Science degree in neurophysiology and a PhD in animal physiology from Laval University. He also holds a Master of Science degree in technology management from the School of
Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. He was a post-doctoral fellow in bio-medical sciences at Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Outside of work, Serge enjoys spending time with his family, mentoring students, working out, listening to jazz, traveling, serving on advisory boards and leading volunteers with Partners in Food Solutions, a non-profit company that has helped scale over 700 food companies across Africa.

Joy E. DiBenedetto

Group Director, Communications Equity Group Holdings

Joy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. She is an award-winning entrepreneurial communications professional; a veteran journalist and media executive whose focus has always been global. She is the Founder of the international content and information company -HUM: Human Unlimited Media, Inc. (AKA, HUMNEWS.COM) and has covered major international events – from the studio and in the field – as a storyteller, producer and diplomat for more than 25 years. A founding partner in the C5 Collective, she has maximized the impact and brand awareness of social innovators, corporations, NGO’s, media, academia, and service organizations worldwide.

She is the Immediate Past President/CEO of the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Friendship Force International (FFI), and was previously the Global Vice President of Network Booking and Research for CNN Worldwide; starting her career in Corporate Finance with Turner Broadcasting. Her career squarely spans the media industry as well as humanitarian interests and always builds on the intersection of both for the greatest social impact

Ned Rauch-Mannino

President, Portsmouth Limited Company

A former U.S. senior official, Ned Rauch-Mannino today leads Portsmouth Limited Company, a commercial diplomacy strategic advisory and consulting firm. He recently served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Operations and Senior Advisor for Global Markets with the U.S. Department of Commerce, leveraging senior-level visibility to support U.S. competitiveness and reinforce trade and investment across markets worldwide. He is a former co-chair for Prosper Africa, and was also a member of the of the initiative’s first Secretariat.

Additionally, Mr. Rauch-Mannino served as an advisor with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Prior to his federal service, he directed government affairs and strategic consulting, managed municipal economic development, and advised a national economic consulting and research firm. He earned his Master's degree from Penn State University, completing his field research in East Africa, and earned undergraduate degrees from Temple University.

Toyin Awesu

Communications Advisor, Prosper Africa 

Toyin is an experienced communications and media relations professional who is passionate about using her skills to help organizations shape public opinion and drive policy changes to build more equitable societies. 

For the 116th Congress, Toyin served as the Director of Communications for the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). As the Director of Communications, Toyin helped the Caucus elevate its voice on critical issues affecting the Black community as well as its position on US-Africa policy. 

Prior to the CBC, Toyin was the Senior Communications Manager for National Democratic Institute (NDI), where she was responsible for both communications and government affairs for the Institute’s Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Gender programs. Toyin’s professional experience also includes working in Lagos, Nigeria for five years as the Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications for a leading investment bank. 

She is a Board Member for the 2021, Africa Policy Accelerator at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), an initiative designed to prepare the next generation of U.S.- Africa policymakers in Washington. An ardent communications professional, Toyin has also facilitated communications trainings around the world and participated as a communications expert on social justice, US-Africa relations, and diversity, equity and inclusion panels. 

Toyin received her Master of Science Degree in Integrated Marketing & Communications from West Virginia University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from Temple University.

Lisa Coppé

Senior Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa U. S. Trade &  Development Agency


Lisa Coppé is the Senior Country Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). She has over a decade of experience working on infrastructure projects across Africa and is currently responsible for business development, project preparation and evaluation, and supervision of USTDA activities in East Africa. Mrs. Coppe designs, implements, and monitors a multimillion-dollar portfolio of grants and contracts. She has worked on deals in over 20 African countries in telecommunications, oil and gas, trade facilitation, energy, environment, and transportation. She is also the cybersecurity sector lead on the Telecommunications Team at USTDA. Mrs. Coppé is a French speaker and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Bucknell University.

Pr. Kokou Adambounou, MD, PhD

Head of Telemedicine Unit University Hospital System, Togo


Professor Kokou Adambounou is a medical doctor and University Professor and researcher with specialty in Radiology, Nucleus Biophysicist with focus on Telemedicine. He is the Head of Telemedicine Unit in the University Hospital System in Togo.
Professor Kokou Adambounou, MD, PhD earned many doctoral degrees from prestigious Universities:


  •  2018: Certificate of Specialized Studies in Nuclear medicine of University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (Senegal)

  •  2012: PhD in Biophysics, a Guardianship program between the Doctoral School “Health, Science and Technology” of University of Tours (France) and the Doctoral School “Science, Health and Environment” of University of Lomé.

  •  2010: Certificate of Specialized Studies in Radiodiagnostic and Medical Imaging at the Franco-African Radiologists International Training Centre of University of Cocody in Côted’Ivoire.

Professor Kokou Adambounou, MD, PhD also received numerous honors and awards including:

  • 2004: Diploma of Excellence of Université de Lomé.

  • 2010: Young Scholar Best Paper Award by the French Radiology Society in Paris to reward the quality of our research conducted on telesonography (first African winner of this award).

  • 2012: Winner of the award Jacques Sauvegrain of the French Radiology Society in Paris for Young abroad radiologists deserving and nominated for the second time to the Young Scholar Award. This subsequent to our research work titled Low cost gyneco-obstetrical tele-imaging platform

Professor Adambounou helped design a “low-cost” tele-imaging method allowing real-time tele-ultrasound expertise, delayed tele-ultrasound diagnosis, and tele-radiology between remote peripherals hospitals and clinics (patient centers) and university hospital centers (expert center). The materials and methods used constitute a system of communication via internet (IP camera and remote access software) enabling transfer of ultrasound videos and images between two centers allows a real-time tele-radiology expertise in the presence of a junior sonographer or radiologist at the patient center. The system can further accommodate non-ultrasound tele-radiology (conventional radiography, mammography, and computer tomography for example). The system was tested on 50 patients between in a city in Togo (40 kilometers from the capital city Lomé and 4500 kilometers from a city in France and University Hospital Center in Lomé and University Hospital Center Trousseau in Tours France.

Charles Amevo, CPA, MBT, CPPM

Global Portfolio Consulting C.A., LLC


Charles is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and an alumnus of Carlson School of Management (University of Minnesota) with a Masters’ Degree in Business Taxation; he is a member of the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPAs) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPAs), and he does not only offer personal service but also has extensive knowledge of all legal, accounting, and tax advantages that may be available to his clients. Charles owns a Minnesota local accounting firm (CPA Global Portfolio Consulting C.A., LLC) and provides financial statements preparation services; auditing, reviews and compilations services; business tax and individual tax preparation services; financial management, bookkeeping and payroll services and business consulting services.

CPA Global Portfolio Consulting C.A., LLC has a Central Certification for Small Minority Business Enterprise, Minnesota Unified Certification, and National Minority Supplier Development Council Certification. The firm provides services through government contracting to federal and state governmental entities, private as well as Nonprofit entities.

Internationally, Charles provides through his accounting firm CPA Global Portfolio Consulting C.A., LLC business valuation and auditing services and he is an active participant in the World Bank and United Nations contracting and suppliers’ system worldwide.

William (Bill) Fanjoy

Managing Director for Domestic Commercial Engagement for Prosper Africa, a U.S. Gov't-led initiative


William (Bill) Fanjoy is the Managing Director for Domestic Commercial Engagement for Prosper Africa, a U.S. Government-led initiative which aims to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa. He actively coordinates strategic engagement and outreach to U.S. companies to increase trade and investment in Africa.

Previously, Bill was the Department of Commerce’s Director of U.S. Export Assistance Centers in Virginia and Washington, DC. He led a team of Senior International Trade Specialists in structuring firm trade deals and long-term trade models for U.S. companies to enter international markets. His regional expertise is Africa, where he successfully led U.S. business and trade missions, and, subsequently, served as Acting Senior Commercial Officer to Kenya, Ghana, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Kuwait and Jordan.

Prior to the Department of Commerce, Bill worked with several Africa-focused firms and agencies, including the World Bank, The Mitchell Group, Chemonics International and the Wildlife Conservation Society. He spent three years on water-management construction projects in Mali and three years managing a large Wildlife Park in the Congo. He also founded the Play and Learn Foundation, USA (Girls and Boys Community Center Program in Ghana), and authored “How to Establish and Operate Wildlife Parks in Africa” (for Wildlife Conservation Society), “Congolese Local Labor and Tax Law” (for Jane Goodall) and “How Hershey Brought Its Miracle Food to Ghana” (for Ghana Business News).

Patterson Brown 

Trade and Economic Growth Team Lead USAID/Bureau for Africa


Patterson Brown leads USAID’s Africa regional Trade and Economic Growth Team responsible for implementation of the Presidential Prosper Africa initiative and new $500 million continent wide trade and investment program. Prior to his current role, Patterson was the Senior Trade Advisor in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, providing leadership for the Agency’s engagement on agricultural trade-
related efforts. Patterson has been with USAID since 2005, joining as an International Trade Specialist and subsequently as USAID’s Humanitarian Advisor to the European Union based in Brussels, Belgium.

Prior to USAID, Patterson worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce where he counselled small and medium sized businesses on international trade agreement compliance and new market access.


He holds a Master’s Degree from George Washington University in International Trade and Investment

Jessica Nyaribo 

Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Minnesota African United 


Jessica Nyaribo is a community engagement specialist with a passion for working with people. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Environment Economics and Regional-Urban Planning and is currently in the final year of her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Minnesota Hubert Humphrey Institute.


She was born in Nairobi, Kenya and enjoys traveling, spending time with family and connecting with people. She is currently the Chair of the Immigration and Foreign Affairs Committee of the Minnesota Africans United.

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