On Doing Business In Africa: A Look At President Obama’s Advisory Team

For a while it appeared that the United States was lagging behind in its recognition of the vast business and investment opportunities on the continent. This is starting to change, as the United States continues to strengthen its commitment to this partnership.?On November 15, 2014, the United States Secretary of Commerce, ?Penny Pritzker announced the appointment of fifteen leaders in the private sector to the President?s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA). Selected individuals will advise the President on strengthening commercial engagement between the United States and Africa, as part of this newly establish team.

Advisory Council

?With Africa being home to six of the ten?fastest-growing economies in the world, the President?s Advisory Council will provide expert counsel on strengthening our partnerships with African countries to leverage opportunities for U.S. companies committed for the long term.? Pritzker reported in a press release.The appointees are:

Wal? Adeosun: Mr. Adesoun is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Kuramo Capital Management, an independent investment management firm that provides targeted global investment management services to institutional investors focused on alternative assets in emerging and frontier markets. An accomplished Certified Financial Account, he was inducted into the New York Chapter of the National Association of Security Professionals Wall Street Hall of Fame. Mr Adeosun received his MBA from John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University in Saint Louis, MO with a concentration in Finance, and his BA in Economics and Business Administration from Coe College in Iowa.

Dominic Barton: Mr. Barton is the Global Managing Director of McKinsey & Company, a role he has held since 2009. An award winning business executive, Barton was awarded the Magnolia Gold Prize by the Shanghai government for his outstanding contributions to the city?s development. In 2013, he received the Order of Civil Merit (Peony Medal) from former President Lee of South Korea. He received a BA Honors in Economics from the?University of British Columbia?and graduated with an MPhil in Economics as a?Rhodes Scholar?from Oxford University. He also has honorary doctorates from the University of British Columbia and York University, Canada.

JP Bilbrey: Mr. Bilbrey is the Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer of The Hershey Company. Bilbrey has an extensive record of success in delivering global growth and in building successful teams at Hershey, where he?drives the focus on building the brand’s competitive advantage in the United States, while expanding its reach in international markets. Bilbrey graduated with a bachelor?s degree in Psychology from Kansas State University in the United States.

Shelley Broader: Ms. Broader is the President and Chief Executive of Walmart in the Europe, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Canada markets, where she is responsible for the company?s retail operations and business development in the EMEA region. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Washington State University and has a lengthy track record of community engagement and leadership in the United States and other countries.

Teresa Clarke: Ms. Clarke, a former Goldman Sachs & Co executive sits at the helm of Africa.com LLC, as its Chairman, CEO and Executive Editor. While at Goldman Sachs, Ms. Clarke led mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance transactions for Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and in Europe.?? She also led the Goldman Sachs Africa-Aspen Program, a leadership development project for emerging public- and private-sector African leaders.?She has extensive experience in sub-Saharan Africa, and currently serves on the boards of the Student Sponsorship Program South Africa, Southern Africa Legal Services (Legal Resource Centre), the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Opportunity Agenda. She?is an emeriti board member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association.?Ms. Clarke received a bachelor?s degree in economics,?cum laude, from Harvard College, an MBA from Harvard Business School and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Melissa Cook: Ms. Cook is the Founder and Managing Director of African Sunrise Partners, an?investment strategy firm dedicated to bringing private-sector capital to sub-Saharan Africa, with a niche in?helping globally sophisticated investors or executives determine how best to proceed in Africa. Cook has over twenty-five years of experience in the global equity business, with expertise in developing- and frontier-markets. She received a bachelor?s degree?in History from Dartmouth College in Massachusetts, and an MBA. in Finance, the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Karen Daniel: As Black & Veatch?s Chief Financial Officer, Ms. Daniel is responsible for developing and executing business strategies, and as President of Black & Veatch?s Finance Division, leading the global finance organization. A Certified Public Accountant, Daniel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Northwest Missouri State University and a Master of Science degree in accounting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Peter Grauer: Mr. Grauer is the Chairman of Bloomberg Inc, the parent company of Bloomberg, LP, a privately held global financial media company. ?Grauer is also a member of the Executive Committee of?The Business Council. He graduated from the?University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill?with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, and?Harvard University Graduate School of Business, Program for Management Development.

Jay Ireland: Mr. Ireland is the President and CEO of General Electric Africa, where he leads GE?s operations on the sub-continent across power generation, healthcare, transportation, oil & gas and aviation. He is also a GE Officer and a member of GE’s Corporate Executive Council.?Ireland serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA). He is a member of the Private Investors for Africa (PIA) and the World Economic Forum Business Working Group for regional projects in Africa. An award winning figure, he was awarded the Africa investor Magazine?s ?International Business Leader of the Year? award in 2013 for the second consecutive year. Ireland graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Lawrence University in New York, United States.

Kevon Makell: Kevon Makell is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at SEWW Energy Inc., where he is responsible for the company?s operations as it develops and delivers sustainable, smart macro and micro-grid solutions globally. Throughout his illustrious career, Makell has successfully completed both large and small scale energy projects in the United States and globally. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with an emphasis in engineering from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.

Edward Mathias: Mr. Mathias is the Managing Director of The Carlyle Group?where he also serves as a member of the firm?s Board of Directors. In his role, Mathias serves as an advisor to senior management and?is a member of the Investment Committees for Carlyle Growth, Asia Growth, European Technology, Middle East Northern Africa (MENA), Mexico Buyout, and Sub-Saharan Africa Funds. He graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Martin Richenhagen: Mr. Richenhagen is the current President and Chief Executive Officer of AGCO Corporation, a leading global manufacturer of agricultural equipment. Prior to joining AGCO, he was the executive vice president at Forbo International SA, a manufacturing firm, headquartered in Switzerland.He studied theology, philosophy and worked as a French teacher, before he changed fields and started a successful international business career. Richenhagen was selected as one of 55 Most Admired CEOs by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

David Storch: Mr. Storch is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AAR CORP, a leading provider of products and services to commercial airlines, government agencies and original equipment manufacturers. Under his leadership, AAR was named ‘One of The Most Trusted Companies’ by Forbes magazine; Storch was also named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Ithaca College in New York.

Dow Wilson: Mr. Wilson is President and Chief Executive Officer of Varian Medical Systems , where he also serves as a member of the company’s board of directors. Varian Medical Systems is the world’s leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, and brachytherapy. Wilson graduated with an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Rahama Wright: Ms. Wright is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Shea Yeleen International Inc., a corporation with a mission to promote sustainable economic development and empower women in rural West Africa through organizing and training women owned cooperatives to produce, market, and sell high quality shea butter, while educating consumers in the U.S. about natural body care products and fair trade. Shea Yeleen was birthed out of Wright?s experience as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa, where she served as a health volunteer. Wright helped to organize the first women led shea butter cooperative that began with twelve members, and has expanded to an outfit that empowers hundreds of women in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana. She was one of only 80 women selected among more than 3,000 female applicants for the O-White House Leadership Project contest in 2008. Wright graduated with a?BA in International Relations from SUNY Geneseo in New York.