Who We Are
Founded in 2003 by Rosa Whitaker, the first ever Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa under the Administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, TWG operates at the nexus of US-Africa economic policy, trade and business development. With offices in Washington, DC, and Accra, Ghana, and strategic partners across Africa, we provide unsurpassed access to opportunities and leaders across the continent.
Rosa Whitaker and the multi-lingual TWG team are at the forefront of the African business and investment landscape – not as spectators, but as participants helping to shape the continent’s rise on the global stage. With team fluency in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Hebrew, Twi and Ga, TWG brings an unmatched ability to communicate effectively on the global stage.
Our mission is to promote private sector-led growth and business solutions that alleviate poverty and develop local economies in Africa. TWG has a demonstrated record in developing mutually beneficial, “win-win” solutions for global clients, African governments and people across the continent.
Dedicated to a collaborative process, TWG works with clients to create a shared vision of success, and then works to deliver the results. We not only help clients achieve a greater footprint in Africa, but also to build their businesses sustainably while contributing development dividends to countries and the continent as a whole.
We are proud of our unequaled reputation for conducting business with the utmost integrity and personal responsibility. Training in and strict adherence to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the U.K. Bribery Act is a requirement for all TWG staff.
Our reputation speaks for itself – more than 85% of TWG’s business has emerged from referrals.
What We Do
- Strategic Counsel
- Investment Facilitation
- Regulatory Navigation
- Government Affairs and Corporate Communications
- Opportunity Identification And Vetting
- Introductions To Key Interlocutors To Make Deals Real
- People And Institution Mapping
- Identification/Mobilization Of Project Financing
- Crisis Management And Negotiations
- Development Of Sustainability Initiatives
TWG’s infrastructure development initiative mobilizes global financing, operators and developers to expand Africa’s infrastructure, from airports, maritime facilities and rail lines, to power, and ICT networks. TWG executes this initiative through a consortium of global developers. We currently have USD $3 billion in projects under development. We continue to broaden our base of partners to address the region’s need for $100 billion in annual infrastructure investments.
Directing Technology-Driven Innovation. Recognizing the massive opportunity for the continent through enabling and disruptive technologies, TWG is investing in innovative local companies that are making a difference for businesses and consumers. We are also introducing global technology firms to Africa and helping them navigate and expand their footprint.Partnerships with Investment Firms. As Africa continues its rapid growth, the continent is becoming increasingly attractive for private equity investment. TWG is actively developing a partnership with a private equity firm that shares its passion for transforming of the African continent’s economy.
What We Deliver
- TWG successfully helped to ensure contract award and to secure required funds.
- TWG supported in key phases of the process, providing strategic advice and assistance with negotiations.
- TWG provided business and competitiveness intelligence and strategic counsel based on unique expertise in the local economic, political and business environment.
- TWG designed and developed an Economic Transformation Initiative which included a local content strategy, creating thousands of jobs and maximizing general economic flow-through from the investment.
- TWG facilitated Presidential-level meetings to discuss and resolve key issues.
- TWG developed the company’s strategy for negotiating with the government, emphasizing the company’s unique value proposition.
- TWG facilitated CEO-Prime Minister introductions and high-level visits for corporate executives.
- TWG brokered a settlement that resulted in a strong commercial partnership.
- TWG negotiated with government officials to get approval for the company’s priority location for the facility.
- TWG successfully secured a reduction in the country’s tax investment code to maximize potential return on investment.
- TWG built local recognition and acceptance of company brand through sustained engagement with government officials and civil society.
- TWG conducted an in-depth analysis of import tariffs and benchmarked against comparable African markets.
- TWG identified a manufacturer able to package the company’s product locally, allowing tariff free status and improving the company’s overall socioeconomic impact in-country.
- TWG successfully raised the company’s profile with Government officials and within the market to prioritize issues, reduce operating costs and safeguard the investment.
- TWG facilitated ongoing high-level engagement with key ministries.
- TWG smoothed regulatory issues to get duty claims processed.
- TWG raised the profile of the investment and its transformative impact in the local and regional press to build reputation of brand.
- TWG successfully helped establish and maximize impact in chosen markets.
- TWG provided analysis of government procurement structures and decision-making processes.
- TWG developed a training module for the company’s sales representatives.
- TWG brokered partnerships with government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and procurement entities that advanced client needs.
News and Views
KKR, the global investment firm, has given a masterclass on how not to do private equity (PE) in Africa, at least in the Wall Street Journal’s telling of it. Unlike Carlyle and others, the company did not set up a […]
The Trump administration may be about to throw spikes under the tires of three small but growing East African economies because they don’t want to import unlimited quantities of Chinese-made clothing that has been worn and tossed in charity bins […]
This year’s Africa Investment Report brings to mind the new edition of Marcelo Giugale’s excellent book, Economic Development: What Everyone Needs To Know. If you sometimes wished you had bought property in Mumbai, Shanghai or Rio 10 years ago, the […]
For well over a decade, it has been increasingly difficult to find issues on which Republicans and Democrats can agree, but this is one: Since 2000, there has been a strong bipartisan consensus — in Congress and the White House […]
Helping develop manufacturing across Africa will be a profitable long-term investment for the U.S. For well over a decade, it has been increasingly difficult to find issues on which Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. can agree, but this is […]
“One who not only could offer good counsel, but dispatched it from a good heart. A soldier who not only fought the good fight and stayed the course, but who helped others navigate the battlefield as well.” It is an […]
May 25, 2017 Dear Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Please accept my warmest and most heartfelt congratulations on your thoroughly decisive election as director general of the World Health Organisation. Not only does Africa at long last have one of its […]
Rosa Whitaker, President and CEO of The Whitaker Group, in conjunction with Africa Invest, hosted a forum during the 2017 IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings at which African finance ministers presented their perspectives US investors, policymakers and opinion leaders.
TWG in Action
CEO Rosa at CCA Presidential Dialogue on the Future of U.S.-Africa Business Relations on the margins of the 2017 UNGA Meetings. L to R: Iain Elder, Shearman and Sterling; Florizelle Liser, Corporate Council on Africa; H.E. Paul Kagame, Republic of Rwanda; Kimberly Heimert, Shearman and Sterling LLP; Aliko Dangote, Dangote Group; CEO Rosa Whitaker
L-R : Flori Liser, President of CCA; TWG CEO Rosa; Hon. James Courter, CEO & Vice Chairman, IDT Corporation; and H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana at TWG co-hosted event on margins of 2017 UNGA Meetings
L-R Rebecca Akufo-Addo, First Lady of Ghana; H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana; and Jay Pryor, Chevron Vice President of Business Development at TWG co-hosted event on margins of 2017 UNGA meetings
Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance of Ghana speaking at TWG co-hosted Investment Dinner on margins of 2017 UNGA Meetings
TWG Co-hosted investment dinner with Marc Holtzman in honor of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana on margins of the 2017 UNGA Meetings in New York
CEO Rosa Whitaker moderating CCA Presidential Dialogue at UNGA with His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and Aliko Dangote, President and CEO of the Dangote Group
Archbishop Duncan-Williams and Rosa Whitaker congratulates the 2017 She-roes Award Recipients in Accra. (L-R: Abiola Bawuah: MD, United Bank for Africa/Accra; Liberian Senator Jewell Taylor; Archbishop Duncan-Williams; Rosa Whitaker; Ms. Alakija Folorunso: Executive Vice Chairman, FAMFA Oil Limited, Nigeria; Gifty Lampety: CEO, Sidalco Group of Companies
Ghana's President, First Lady, Second Lady, and Chief of Staff at Archbishop’s Birthday Celebrations
Ghana's President, First Lady, Vice President, Second Lady, and Chief of Staff at Archbishop’s Birthday Celebrations
Honourable Ken Ofori-Atta, Rosa Whitaker, Paul Hinks, Sir Paul Collier, Ambassador Claver Gatete at a TWG co-hosted event
Honourable Alamine Ousmane Mey (Minister of Finance, Cameroon) and Honourable Ken Ofori-Atta (Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Ghana) at a TWG co-hosted event
Sir Paul Collier, Amb. Claver Gatete (Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Rwanda), and Hon. Malusi Gigaba (Minister of Finance, South Africa) at a TWG co-hosted event
Sir Paul Collier moderating a panel of Finance Ministers from Cameroon, Ghana, Rwanda and South Africa at a TWG co-hosted event
Katarvia Taylor moderating the Finance and Legal Compliance Panel at the 4th Annual Africa Port & Rail Expansion and Cargo Capacity Upgrading Summit
Rosa with Congressman Charlie Rangel and Mrs Alma Rangel at Gala Celebration Honoring Congressman Rangel's 50 years of Public Service
President Kenyatta and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
CEO and President
Rosa Whitaker is recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts on African trade, investment and business. Named in 2010 as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s top global thinkers, Ms Whitaker served as the first-ever Assistant United States Trade Representative for Africa under the administrations of President Clinton and President George W Bush.
Rosa Whitaker is one of the hands-on architects of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), America’s first comprehensive trade law with African countries. AGOA provides duty -free access to the US market for essentially all African-made products. AGOA continues to be the center-piece of US-Africa economic policy.
As the lead US negotiator for bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, she was the prime mover behind a series of unprecedented initiatives to enhance US trade, investment and economic cooperation with African countries. Ms. Whitaker also served as a career US diplomat specializing in African economic matters.
In 2014, she was the first American to be given the “Africa Economy Builders” award which complements numerous honors recognizing her 30-plus years of demonstrated achievement in forging investment and trade ties with Africa. In 2003, Consumers for World Trade inducted her into the Hall of Fame for Trade.
Ms. Whitaker is a Vice Chair of the Executive Board of Mercy Ships, a global faith-based charity operating the largest private hospital ship in the world. She also served on the Board of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the Center for Global Prosperity and she previously served as Vice Chair of the US-South Africa Business Council.
Ms. Whitaker is regularly featured in the press on Africa trade issues and has lectured at the National Defense University, MIT and Carnegie Mellon University. Ms. Whitaker holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the American University in Washington, D.C. Rosa Whitaker is married to Nicholas Duncan-Williams, the Presiding Archbishop and General Overseer of Christian Action Faith Ministries (CAFM).
“I bring to my work the values I live by – integrity in action, excellence in execution, steadfastness in faith.”
Vice President, Global Transactions and Corporate Affairs
Helena Poku comes to TWG after a successful executive career in business and finance at Petra Trust, which she co-founded in (Accra, Ghana); T. Rowe Price and Bear Stearns & Co. (Wall Street, New York City) where she was responsible for leading teams and organizational change while managing a clientele of high net-worth individuals and businesses.
Helena is broadly recognized in Ghana for her strategic thinking and acute ability to transform ideas into tangible action. She has been avidly engaged in advising on various growth sectors of the Ghanaian economy and enjoys a broad range of contacts in both the public and private sectors. She is lauded for her long-standing work in community service and youth mentorship.
Helena graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and holds a Master’s of Science degree in Finance from The University of Tampa, FL.
Vice President, Finance
Melissa is a multi-talented, high performance accounting executive who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to TWG after serving as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at Gladstone Capital Corporation where she was responsible for a publically-traded business development fund with almost half a billion dollars in assets. Her work included transactional investment accounting and portfolio management (such as exits, restructurings, originations, and valuations) as well as public stock offerings, credit facility amendments, extensions and syndications, and all SEC and IRS filings and communications. Previously, as sales finance and accounting controller at Tandberg Inc., before and after the Norwegian video communication firm’s acquisition by tech giant Cisco, she ran the accounting department covering over $500 million in revenue spanning North and South America and supported a 150-agent sales team
After graduating magna cum laude from the College of William and Mary in 1995, Melissa managed middle market client audits at PriceWaterhouseCoopers before being appointed manager of financial reporting and benefits accounting at Dyncorp, a $2.5 billion government contractor. In that role she prepared and reviewed all SEC filings and assisted with Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. After Dyncorp was acquired by Computer Sciences Corporation in 2003, Melissa transitioned to Ericsson Netqual Inc., US subsidiary of Swedish IT leader Ericcson, as assistant controller. She brings expertise from these various roles in the areas of financial statement preparation and audits, general ledger accounting, system implementations, internal controls, investor and board of director relations and financial forecasting/cash flow management. She is a CPA in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is a member of the American Institute of CPA’s and Virginia Society of CPA’s. She is active in her Reston, Virginia, community as a PTA and church volunteer.
“You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.” Mahatma Gandhi
Dr. Gail Whitaker
Vice President, Strategic Leadership & Philanthropy
Dr. Gail Whitaker has more than 25 years of senior management experience, she has worked as a strategic leader for organizations and in senior leadership positions in the areas of business management and information technology. She is experienced in team building, organizational process management, strategic management, and improving stakeholder engagement. Dr. Whitaker has held many senior level positions in higher education including VP of Academic Affairs (IGU), Dean of College of Business and Management and Dean of Doctoral Studies (CTU), Dean of the School of Business (VIU), Director of the Office of Academic and Computing Services (UMD). Other senior level positions include: Managing Director of SEED School of Maryland, Chief Technology Officer for National Council of La Raza, and Director of IT for National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, just to name a few. Dr. Whitaker earned a BS in Business Administration. She holds three Master’s degrees; an MS in IT, another in Labor Studies, and a third in Christian Studies with a focus on Christian Leadership. Dr. Whitaker’s two doctorate degrees are in Technology and IS, and Organizational Process Management. She is accredited and certified to administer Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) for individuals and organizations – Korn Ferry Hay Group, 2017 and has a certificate of completion from Harvard Negotiation Intensive training, Harvard Law School, 2017.
“I am passionate about helping leaders grow as they face the rewarding challenges of transforming organizations.”
Senior Director for International Projects and Operations
Katarvia Taylor is TWG’s Senior Director for International Projects and Operations. Previously on the staff of the Technology & General Services Department at the International Monetary Fund, Katarvia is an experienced and multilingual administrator with particular expertise in IT, cyber security, and change management. She leads TWG’s Operations and Technology teams, ensuring that our internal processes are as efficient as possible and that we leverage technology effectively and securely. She also manages multiple projects in Africa to enhance the impact of TWG’s work on behalf of our clients and Africa as a whole.
Katarvia holds a Master of Science degree in Information Systems Technology from the George Washington University in Washington, DC., and a BA in French, German, and Latin American Studies from Georgetown University, also in Washington, DC. She in fluent in Spanish, French and German.
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Benjamin Franklin
Global Reach, Local Impact
1818 Library Street, Suite 500, Reston, VA 20190
Tel: +1 (571) 346-7660
1 Dulles Court, Joggis Street
Mailing: PMB 366, Cantonments
Tel: +233 302 824163
Fax: +233 302 824162
WORK WITH US
Dynamic, innovative, entrepreneurial – these are the watchwords TWG lives by.
At TWG, we offer individuals with intelligence, business acumen and a passion for driving Africa’s economic development opportunities to create enterprising solutions to some of the most challenging and complex global issues.
For inquires about open positions, please email us along with a cover letter, resume, and writing sample.