Faith-Based Business Leaders And Government Officials Participate In Equity For Africa Summit

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo kicked off the first Equity for Africa summit Tuesday April 13, highlighting the summit’s focus on faith-based principles and economic growth for Africa. 

The three-day summit hosted by Liberty University’s School of Business and Standing for Freedom Center welcomed major business, government and faith leaders from the U.S. and Africa to Liberty’s campus as they casted visions for a prosperous Africa. Due to his background in foreign relations and devout Christian beliefs, Pompeo instilled a message centered on every human’s desire for freedom.

“(Africans) want freedom and the ability to take care of their families, and they all understand that there’s very little that is more noble than the dignity that comes with a job and opportunity to work and to deliver on behalf of their families and community. And Africans who get the opportunity to do so are obviously better, and their nation more prosperous and secure,” Pompeo said. 

The summit served to connect U.S. business leaders with African leaders, who hope to build a better future for their people and invest capital into their countries around shared principles. 

“We want to make sure that we’re doing all we can do to bring these groups together — to build our nations and our businesses around a set of faith-based principles that will strengthen the economies in African nations,” Pompeo said. 

After addressing the crowd Tuesday night during his keynote address, Pompeo sat down with School of Business Dean Dave Brat, discussing the growing threats of communism and corruption in Africa. Pompeo noted how socialism implemented in the past has failed and how “we should move forward to a new future based on a set of basic principles.” 

African leaders such as the President of the Republic of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo and Vice-President of Liberia Jewel Howard-Taylor presented their business opportunities during the breakout panels on Wednesday and Thursday. Former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and President of Hobby Lobby Steve Green were U.S. leaders also participating in the summit. Each panelist presented capital ventures spanning across several sectors of infrastructure. 

Students volunteering with the event also had opportunities to engage with world leaders and learn from their experiences. Graduate student Atinuke Elizabeth Ayowole, a graduate assistant pursuing her master’s degree in Public Policy, spoke with leaders from her home country of Nigeria on matters of pursuing sustainable relationships for their country. 

“I want to see more economic opportunities for my country and I was happy to see leaders from Nigeria take the opportunities from this summit to partner with American businesses,” Ayowole said. 

According to Ayowole, the summit helped business leaders understand and navigate African regulations, which can manifest a roadblock for entrepreneurship. 

“A lot of leaders were able to intercept together and navigate economic opportunities for Africa through American companies and vice versa,” Ayowole said.

Brat said he looks to make the summit an annual event on Liberty’s campus, serving as a catalyst for entrepreneurship in Africa and the U.S.  

Hattie Troutman is the Editor-in-Chief. Follow her on Twitter at @hattrout.

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