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Political Figures to Discuss Need for U.S. Investment in Africa, Diaspora

January 9, 2009

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, will host and moderate a panel discussion Jan. 15 on the importance of U.S. financial investment in Africa, featuring a trio of political leaders from the continent, as part of his 12th annual Wall Street Project conference.

"With the backdrop of the recession in the U.S. and Europe, Africa will be the land that suffers the most," said the Rev. Jesse Jackson. "There will be companies looking at their investments, looking where to cut. And Africa will be receiving the brunt of these cuts, an easy target in spite of the potential for growth in so many of these countries."

Scheduled to take part in the discussion moderated by Rev. Jackson are: H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President, The Federal Republic of Nigeria; H.E. Raila Odinga, prime minister, the Republic of Kenya; H.E. Abdoulaye Wade, president of Senegal; and Rosa Whitaker, president, The Whitaker Group, a consulting firm specializing in Africa.

"Africa,The Last Economic Frontier: The Role of the Diaspora and Foreign Investors" is one of the many informational sessions taking place during the 12th annual Wall Street Project conference, which this year features a cross-section of academic, financial and government leaders examining the broader financial crises. The conference, which also features a job expo, runs from Monday, Jan. 12 through Friday, Jan. 16.

"America has a long-standing relationship with the continent," said Rev. Jackson, who traveled to Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa in 2000 to strengthen social and business relations between the U.S. and the African nations. "That is why we are also focusing on the diaspora. There are many Africans who have migrated to the United States and are still very much interested in their country's and continent's progress. Investing in Africa is one way to ensure the continued growth of these countries."

Celebrating its twelfth year, The Wall Street Project continues the work Rev. Jackson began at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who appointed Rev. Jackson to run Operation Breadbasket more than forty years ago. The Project brings underserved communities into theeconomic mainstream with positive opportunities for growth and inclusion. The Wall Street Project promotes better hiring and promotion practices in industry, appointment of larger numbers of minorities to corporate boards, and increased business and cooperation between majority- and minority-owned companies.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity For more information about the conference, please visit the organization's website www.wallstreetproject2009.org or call (212) 425-7874. To interview Rev. Jackson, please contact the media office at (773) 256-2714.

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