Fresh from a trip to Ethiopia with 19 graduate students, Associate Dean for MBA Programs Liesl Riddle appeared on Capitol Hill on March 22 to back legislation that would increase U.S. exports to Africa.
The “Increasing American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Act of 2012” introduced by U.S. Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Bobby L. Rush D-Ill., calls for increasing exports by 200 percent over a decade and greater financing to help smaller businesses boost their Africa trade. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate.
“It is a challenging place to do business,” said Riddle, associate professor of International Business, who for years has been active on Ethiopian-diaspora issues. “That said, it is where some of the most dynamic growth of the 21st century is going to take place.”
Riddle said the legislation, if passed by Congress, would help channel the diaspora’s potential for developing Africa while creating successful businesses, and U.S. jobs, by seizing opportunities for trade with some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
China and India are already investing aggressively on the continent. Ethiopia’s economy alone is projected to grow anywhere from 8 to 14 percent, annually, over the next five years.
The Washington, D.C.-area is home to a large Ethiopian community, many members of which migrate “back and forth” between the two countries and are active in Ethiopian business development, said Riddle. In 2010, she launched a three-year study of African diaspora entrepreneurs.
“We don’t have that going on in all the other countries around the continent,” she said. “Creating a conduit for development is necessary. These diaspora returnees have a real passion for investing in their countries of origin.”
The students on the Ethiopia trip are taking Riddle’s spring course on “Migration, Identity and International Business. ” In the past year, GWSB students have gone to Egypt, Ethiopia and Ghana, and another group is traveling to Rwanda for a consulting abroad practicum.
Riddle spoke on behalf of the Smith-Rush bill at Rush’s request after a Rush aide spoke before a roundtable policy discussion on African diaspora issues organized by Riddle. That came on the heels of the first Global Diaspora Forum launched by the U.S. Department of State in May 2011.
For more on the Smith-Rush bill: http://allafrica.com/stories/201203220003.html
To track the legislation: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr4221
For video from the Global Diaspora Forum: http://www.diasporaalliance.org/forum.cfm
Posted by gwsb on April 3, 2012 | Filed under: GWSB News.