It was an incredible honor to be part of Wisconsin’s first trade-oriented visit to West Africa. I traveled to the Gambia and Nigeria for this historic “foreign direct investment mission” with executives from Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. In my head, I keep reviewing fast-moving scenes from the past week, from the warmth welcome in Banjul to one of the largest markets in Sub-Saharan Africa in Lagos.
In the past, I never imagined I would be on Gambian Radio and Television or “Coffee Time with Peter Gomez” with WEDC Secretary Missy Hughes or witnessing the excellent efforts of The Gambia’s Investment and Export Promotion Agency, bringing businesses to meet us at an extremely well-organized forum. There is so much to promote about Wisconsin’s key industries, food and beverage, manufacturing, biohealth, energy, water technology, and more.
Africa is a continent with a rapidly growing population and emerging markets. It is also rich in natural resources, including minerals, oil, and gas. It offers opportunities for trade and investment in various sectors, including agriculture, energy, technology, infrastructure, and consumer goods. Engaging in business with Africa can open up new markets for Wisconsin businesses and contribute to economic growth.
Economic activity involves relationship, involves learning about and knowing each other, and the culture of places we may not be familia with. Economic activity is a form of connection.
It is about the people. I think about the people I represent here in the 48th Assembly District and the state and I want to do all I can to communicate the value of what we do and the opportunities here. I think about the people where I came from, and the role I can play in highlighting the value of what they do, what they offer to the world, and how we all benefit from connection. This is mutually beneficial. And I get to be doubly proud, as a Wisconsinite, and as an African.
Engaging in business with African nations can also strengthen cultural and diplomatic ties. I can’t wait for a Wisconsin Trade Mission to Sub-Saharan Africa soon, so some of my fellow policy makers can share my experience and the importance of the relationship with the continent.