December 20, 2023

CCA's 30th Anniversary & Awards Gala

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The Corporate Council on Africa's 30th Anniversary & Awards Gala, held on December 1, 2023, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Washington, DC, was a grand celebration of the organization's rich history and three decades of influential contributions to U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationships. The event brought together esteemed member companies, affiliate organizations, the African Diplomatic Corps, U.S. government dignitaries and close friends of CCA with CNN International Anchor, Zain Asher, serving as the Mistress of Ceremonies.The Gala commenced with a warm welcome from CCA President & CEO Florie Liser, who acknowledged the presence of distinguished guests, including members of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA), the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa (TACA), like-minded partners from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, numerous other Africa-focused institutions such, and other esteemed attendees. Drawing on her nearly four decades in U.S. government to working to advance US-Africa trade relations, and nearly seven years at CCA, Ms. Liser noted that AFrica is a “powerhouse in the making, with a continental market of 1.3 billion people and a total GDP of $3.4 trillion.” In her remarks, Florie expressed her appreciation for the hard work of the CCA team – both current and former members, as well as to her family for their unwavering support.Outgoing CCA Chairman Dr. Jeffrey Sturchio was honored for his decades of dedicated service as a CCA member and twice Chairman, emphasizing the significance of CCA and its 30-year history in building U.S.-Africa business. Dr. Sturchio stated that the goal for the Gala was to recognize four important groups represented at the event. First, past leaders – co-founders of CCA, past Presidents & CEOs, and past Chairmen of the Board and other Board members. Second, CCA’s member companies, “for whom CCA works hard every day to advance their interests.” The third group Dr. Stuchio asked to stand were members of the African diplomatic corps as representatives of the dozens of African governments with which CCA has partnered over the decades to define and advance shared goals. And finally, U.S. government partners were asked to be recognized for the collaborative and productive partnerships that had advanced U.S. strategic goals to benefit both the United States and African nations, and our peoples.Her Excellency, the Ambassador of Rwanda, Mathilde Mukantanbana, as Vice Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, delivered remarks in recognition of the event and the exceptionally strong and collaborative relationships that CCA consistently maintains with each African embassy, renewing those ties as new Ambassador and Trade Counselors come and go.A highlight of the evening was the acknowledgment of CCA's impactful partnership with the African Union, particularly through initiatives like the Health Resilience & Security Initiative (HRSI) and the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement implementation (ATI/AfCFTA) project. African Union Ambassador Hilde Suka-Mafudze commended CCA for its achievements to date and the tremendous future potential in strengthening U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationships in partnership with the African Union.The audience was treated to a captivating live performance by StepAfrika!, adding a vibrant cultural element to the gala, and formalities were followed by a packed dance floor as DJ Pompey played upbeat hit after hit.The focus of the evening was on honoring past Presidents and Board leaders, including CCA Co-Founder and Past Executive Director, David Miller, with retrospective remarks by CCA President Emeritus Steve Hayes, and former Chairpersons of the Board of Directors Percy Wilson, and Paul Hinks.Additional honorees, although not present, were acknowledged, including Maurice Templesman, Frank Fountain, and Mike Dignam.The gala concluded with remarks from incoming Chairman John Olajide, who along with the CCA staff surprised President & CEO Florie Liser with a special award to recognize her strong leadership and renewal of CCA’s vibrancy in her nearly six years at the helm. Olajide emphasized the tremendous opportunities for prosperity-enhancing engagement by and between African and American businesses, governments, and engaged organizations. He particularly noted the 2024 U.S.-Africa Business Summit scheduled for May 2024 in his adopted hometown of Dallas, Texas.The night was a memorable tribute to CCA's legacy and its commitment to fostering strong trade and investment ties between the United States and Africa. As said in its slogan for the year, “Thirty Years of Excellence in U.S.-Africa Business.” Here’s to the next thirty!