L to R: Amb. Sanders, Rwandan Amb. Mukantabana, USTDA Director Ebong, Gallup Africa Dir. Rheault, NSC Africa Director Devermont, Benin Amb. do Rego
2017 WANDA Awards Honoree Ambassador Robin Sanders led the 9th Annual FEEEDS®-GALLUP® Africa Forum at Gallup’s World Headquarters in Washington, DC on Thursday, July 14, 2022. WANDA was among the invited leaders in the fields of health, communications, trade, development and diplomacy to attend the forum.
FEEEDS is an advocacy initiative spearheaded by Ambassador Sanders. The acronym cleverly integrates a handful of pressing global issues: Food security, Education, Environment-energy, Economics, Democracy-development and Self-help. This organization works to uplift underserved communities and recently collaborated with Gallup, a leading global analytics firm, to host this year’s forum entitled, “Trade, the Diaspora & Policy: Paths to Strengthening the US-Africa Relationship”.
Key speakers included: Enoh Ebong, Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), Magali Rheault, Gallup’s Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Director, Judd Devermont, Special Assistant to the President & Africa Senior Advisor on the National Security Council, Jon Clifton, CEO of Gallup and Ambassador Sanders herself.
There was a common sentiment that “Africa will shape the future of the world,” and that “Africans need a seat at the table,” as stated by Mr. Devermont. Speakers and audience members alike acknowledged the opportunity to “develop high quality and sustainable infrastructure,” which builds on “trust, mutual benefit [and] collective prosperity,” as encouraged by Director Ebong. Hope for change is felt by all, though notably optimistic and demanded by the diaspora’s youth such as Tambra Raye Stevenson, WANDA’s founder. WANDA is not alone in the effort to break down silos which limit true reform & development as forum audience members echoed the same.
During the forum, Ms. Rheault shared data from 20 surveys conducted in 2021 which encompassed 27 countries or two-thirds of the African continent’s population, in addition to survey results from 2018 which included 43 African countries. The presented data highlighted a myriad of economic development perceptions within the continent and approval of inter/national leaders.
Though domestic organizations such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), National Security Council (NSC) and USTDA work to strengthen institutions overseas in Africa, there is a dire need for positive impact in the African diaspora on U.S. soil as well. Gallup’s Center on Black Voices actively studies and highlights the experiences of Black Americans to provide metrics on focal areas where disparities negatively affect life outcomes. Essential metrics build informed decisions towards policy for the change we need.
Written by Esu Obu is a graduate of Cornell University and Ghent University in Belgium.
Links from the Forum:
Guest Speaker Bios