Africa Braintrust Panel

Representative Karen Bass and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation hosted the 2013 Africa Braintrust on Friday, September 21st.  The event was held at the Washington Convention Center and had as its theme, “50 Years of Unity and a Future of Progress.”

Tebabu was part of an afternoon panel discussion entitled, "African Diaspora:  Untapped Engine."  Other esteemed panelists included:   Reginald Maynor, Director International Sales, Luster Products Inc.; Kendal Tyre, Partner, Nixon Peabody; and Julie Ndjee,  VP Sales and Marketing, Neilly's Foods LLC.

The panel was moderated by Semhar Araia, Executive Director of the Diaspora African Women’s Network.  Ms. Araia opened the discussion with these remarks:  “The African Diaspora totals approximately 150 million people in the Americas.  With over $40 billion in purchasing power, the Diaspora, if properly leveraged, can have a significant and transformative effect on the growth of economies and local communities throughout the continent.  Today’s panel provides tangible examples of this transformative effect and is another example of the driving force behind Africa’s rise.”

For his part, Tebabu talked about the Virtuous Exchange business model, the personal story behind the model, and the exciting possibilities for, “changing the international narrative,” as it relates to trade. 

Please watch the video below to hear the full panel discussion.

2 thoughts on “2013 Africa Braintrust

  1. After watching this video I found the discussion to be interesting, informative, and thought provoking.  Tebabu's comments were real and poignant. For him to have both the audacity and courage to begin his comments by calling "People of the African descent very, very, ignorant to what Africa is" to a room full of Africans, African immigrants and blacks immediately grabs your attention.  Knowing Tebabu's character and passion I know that his intent wasn't to offend but rather to jolt the attendees by drawing attention to the lack of knowledge of it being the Ethiopian New Years and how astonished people were of the Ethiopian culture at his 3rd annual Ethiopian Festival in downtown Silver Spring last Sunday.  Tebabu is not one to sit idly by where he see injustice and you can feel his passion as he talks about what inspired him along with his wife Sara to create Blessed Coffee and their Virtuous Exchange model that goes beyond fair trade to ensure that all parties equally benefit from the transaction.  He is a true leader on advocating American businesses trading and investing in Africa. A strong articulate visionary with a clear plan and I truly believe that his Virtuous Exchange business model combined with his plans for the African Business submit will be the springboards that launch this movement into the American business forefront.

  2. Tebabu, I really love your candidness and honesty in the video! It was fascinating to watch the exchange between you and the woman in the audience about your comments at the beginning and clarification of them for her to understand you were not trying to offend but rather make a point. You have so much passion that I always get sucked into wanting to hear more more more of what you say!

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