I am extremely pleased to present the Final Report of the 2009 Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series that was held September 18-26, 2009 in Washington, D.C. The Ronald H. Brown (RHB) African Affairs Series is planned and organized by the Constituency for Africa (CFA) each year in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference. The purpose of the Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series is to: (1) educate, inform and engage the American public on critical challenges, issues and concerns facing Africa; (2) help link Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and their staff to African challenges, issues and concerns; and (3) promote a pro-active and sustainable U.S.-Africa foreign policy agenda.
This year, the Constituency for Africa (CFA) partnered again with the Washington Office of the African Union (AU) to organize and present the Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series. The 2009 RHB Series focused on how the African Diaspora can participate and support the African Union’s Sixth Region initiative. Accordingly, this year’s theme was entitled “Issues, Opportunities and Strategies for Building a Constituency for Africa in the United States.” The Co-Chairpersons named for this year’s RHB Series were Ambassador Amina Salum Ali, the African Union’s Permanent Representative to the United States and Congresswoman Diane E. Watson (D-CA).
The Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series, named after the late Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown, acknowledges the significant contributions he made for forging U.S. ties with Africa. Mr. Ron Brown opened doors to the recognition of the importance of a U.S.-Africa relationship, highlighting trade and investment opportunities, and traveling to Africa and supporting organizations seeking to educate, advocate and build strategic ties with Africa. Both Americans and Africans owe a deep debt of gratitude for his visionary efforts.

On a sad note, this year marked the passing of the Constituency for Africa’s Vice Chairman, the Honorable Jack F. Kemp in May 2009. CFA wishes to sustain his legacy of trade and investment opportunities between America and Africa in naming the annual trade and investment roundtable held during each RHB Series in his honor.

CFA is a 501(c)3 non-partisan organization and its Board of Directors reflect some of the most respected voices on African affairs. For more than nineteen years, CFA has worked tirelessly to educate Americans about critical challenges affecting Africa, and to encourage a strong public and private partnerships that address issues and concerns on the continent. The United States has a tremendous opportunity to strengthen U.S. partnerships with Africa and CFA seeks to encourage the Obama administration to build upon the substantive progress made during the eight years of the Bush administration in formulating and executing a robust U.S. foreign policy towards Africa.

express my sincere appreciation to CFA’s strategic partners and sponsors in helping to make this year’s Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series a tremendous success. We truly hope that our mission merits your continued support and financial assistance in years to come!

Melvin P. Foote
President & CEO