U.S. Africa Business Forum. Washington D.C.

Tuesday August 5th, 2014 saw political leaders and CEO’s from across the United States and Africa converge on the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington D.C. for the U.S. Africa Business Forum.

The goal: “…to forge strong business relationships, increase market activity between the U.S. and African countries, debate economic policy challenges and opportunities — and ensure this new chapter unfolds with maximum social and economic benefit for all…to create a new platform to promote trade, accelerate job growth, and encourage investment across the continent. ”

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Co-hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the U.S. Department of Commerce, the forum was a part of President Obama’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, featuring an historic convening of African heads of state and government. Areas of focus included finance and capital investment, infrastructure, power and energy, agriculture, consumer goods, and information communication technology.

Special guests included President Obama, Former President Clinton, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Kerry, Michael Bloomberg, and CEO’s of major corporations across the U.S. and Africa.

Zain Verjee and the Zain Verjee Group produced remarkable video content to initiate and inspire conversation for each moderated session. Moderators included Bill Clinton, Charlie Rose and National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

As the “Voice of God,” my responsibilities included introducing each session’s panelists and assisting Zain Verjee with segues between moderated sessions and video content.

[lightbox link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ5sOOunBRw” thumb=”https://andytayloronline.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/USAfricaForum-Video-620×349.png” width=”620″ align=”right” title=”This is the Moment – Opportunities in Africa. (Zain Verjee Group)” frame=”true” icon=”video” caption=”This is the Moment – Opportunities in Africa. (Zain Verjee Group)”]Production Supervisor Jeff Markowitz directed. He was motivated to ask for my assistance thanks in part to my years of experience formally announcing unfamiliar, difficult-to-pronounce names in the tennis world. For over a decade, Jeff has been my director during the opening and closing ceremonies of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York.

The day was incredibly enlightening – no doubt initiating business partnerships between nations and ambitious corporations from both sides of the Atlantic.

From a “pomp and circumstance” perspective – as a humble voice-over guy based in the rural Midwest – it was incredibly interesting to participate in this “breaking of the ice.” It was fascinating to blend the formalities of Presidential presentation with informal panel discussions debating the very unique and real challenges of growing business partnerships between the United States and the African continent.

Cultural respect was crucial; busting through formality to transparently solve challenges…critical.

It was a “one-of-kind” day of voice-over indeed.