WPI to Hold Third Annual U.S.-Africa Business Conference

Theme is Building Partnerships for Economic Opportunities in Africa: The Way Forward

Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5609


The conference is designed to promote economic and educational partnerships that will strengthen trade and investment ties between the northeastern United States and Africa. Companies that have been successfully investing in, importing from, or exporting to Africa will share their experiences. Plenary sessions and workshops, with speakers from several African nations, will be held in agriculture, mining, water management, higher education, alternative energy, health management, and information and communication technology.

Specific objectives include

  • promoting links among African and U.S. businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions to facilitate the development of economic partnerships and a healthy and appropriately trained work force.
  • promoting accelerated development of fair trade and industry, including exports and imports between Africa and the United States.
  • expanding opportunities for small-scale enterprises to become a force in global markets.

Keynote Speaker: Vijaya Ramachandran, World Bank specialist on the business climate in Africa

Other speakers include:

  • Andre Groenewald, first secretary of economics, South African Consulate
  • Stephen Hayes, president, Corporate Council on Africa
  • Marcia Brewster, senior officer, Interagency Gender and Water Task Force, Sustainable Development Division of the United Nations
  • Tjama Tjivikua, Rector , Polytechnic of Namibia
  • Rose Ndille, president U.S. African Business Development


Tuesday, May 23, 2006
8 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
Campus Center, Odeum (top level)
100 Institute Road, Worcester, Mass.


9-9:30 Introduction and Overview
Arthur Gerstenfeld, Conference Co-Chair, professor of management and director of WPI's Namibia Project Center
Dennis D. Berkey, WPI President
9:30-9:40 "An Inspirational Message from Africa,: Anna Mwalagho, internationally recognized singer, dancer, actress, poet and storyteller
9:40-10 Keynote Address, Vijaya Ramachandran
10-10:55 Panel on Africa-U.S. Partnerships (African Perspective)
11:15-12:30 Panel on U.S.-Africa Partnerships (U.S. Perspective)
12:30-2 Lunch with Panelists and Cultural Performance
2-3:15 Panel Discussion Workshops; Topics:
  • HIV-AIDS/Public Health as it Affects International Partnerships
  • Agriculture and Mining
  • Alternative Energy and Water Management
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Educational Partnerships
  • SME Development/ Micro-finance.
3:30-4:25 Workshop Summary Reports and the Way Forward
4:25-4:30 Concluding Remarks, Charlemagne Chimbangu, Conference Co-chair

More Info

For more information about the WPI U.S.-Africa Business Conference and to register, visit their Web site.

About WPI

Founded in 1865, Worcester Polytechnic Institute is one of the nation's first and leading scientific, engineering and technological universities. Its 18 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, management, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts. WPI's world-class faculty work with students in a number of cutting-edge research areas, leading to breakthroughs and innovations in such fields as biotechnology, fuel cells, information security, and nanotechnology.