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
“If President Donald Trump is to “Make America Great Again” he cannot afford to ignore Africa,” Rosa Whitaker writes in The Hill. “It is in this region of over one billion people — the world’s second-fastest growing continent — that the rise of China and the relative decline in U.S. power is more stark than in any other.”
Profound thanks to Rep. Charles Rangel for proclaiming Rosa Whitaker Day. No one in the US Congress has done more for the cause of Africa’s freedom and prosperity than the member for Harlem.
Rosa Whitaker, founder and CEO of the Whitaker Group, has been hailed as a “trailblazer” by Face2Face Africa at its fifth annual awards gala to recognize and celebrate of pan-African achievement.
Let’s not get hung up on the 1%/99% problem that is bedevelling mature market economies but focus instead on what we need to do to make the market work inclusively for us, argues Kingsley Mohgalu, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and currently a Senior Fellow in the Council on Emerging Market Enterprises at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
…argues David Levin, Managing Partner at Nexus Capital Markets, a leading Pan-African/U.S. investment bank located in New York and Johannesburg. American business should take note and stop missing out on the extraordinary opportunities the continent offers.
Riva Levinsons’s Choosing the Hero: My Improbable Journey and the Rise of Africa’s First Woman President is a must read. Insightful, instructive and inspiring, Riva provides a front row seat and eye witness account of some of the most significant developments shaping Africa’s political landscape. Blended with stories of her own personal and professional development along the way, Riva’s journey is loaded with lessons in grit, naïveté, integrity and loyalty.
TWG in Action
President Kenyatta and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
Key Team Members
At TWG, “We Work Until You Win”
Led by Rosa Whitaker, TWG has staff in Washington, DC and Ghana, and works with strategic partners throughout the region. The TWG team collectively brings almost 50 years of experience working in Africa, and possesses a record of excellent execution, successful delivery and proven integrity. We adopt unique approaches and customized solutions for global and diverse clients to facilitate market entry, investment and business expansion in Africa. TWG’s credibility, expertise and privileged network of trusted contacts throughout Africa are unparalleled.
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 State 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.”
Senior Advisor, Corporate Affairs and Transactions
Isobel, a multi-lingual attorney and banker, provides TWG with a unique blend of experience, skill and accomplishment in structuring and managing complex international transactions involving a wide range of asset classes, industries and financing structures. A multilingual, UK- and German-trained attorney, she most recently been practicing law in Accra, Ghana, advising on Africa strategy and cross-border corporate transactions.
Previously, at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, she served as Director, Transaction Management and New Product Coordination. In this capacity, she arranged financing for corporate and high net-worth clients using multiple financial products (lease, debt and equity) across a broad gamut of industries including mining, oil and gas, shipping, construction, automotive, aviation and IT. She managed asset and project finance transactions from inception to funding with deal sizes range from USD10 million to USD1.2 billion. She provided tax, legal and regulatory structuring advice for transactions in jurisdictions across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, managing over 20 transactions a year.
Isobel helped Bank of America Merrill Lynch grow its footprint in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, providing strategic leadership on business and product expansions. She led presentations to bank internal risk and operational approval committees and senior management teams on business expansion and growth strategies. She carried out due diligence on new jurisdictions and assessed opportunities and risks in these jurisdictions from an operational, legal, regulatory and tax perspective.
Before joining Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Isobel was a corporate banking attorney with CMC Cameron McKenna LLP in London where she gained considerable experience in project finance, heading the legal team for a GBP400 million Ministry of Defense construction project. She helped Fidelity, the US asset management giant, and Nigeria’s Access Bank set up UK subsidiaries.
Isobel is on the board of President Obama’s Young Africa Leadership Initiative. She has an LLB with German from the University College London, for which she studied in both the UK capital and in Cologne, Germany. She went on to earn a Masters in Intercultural Communication for Professions and Businesses at UCL with a thesis entitled “Leadership Communication for African Bankers”. In addition to English, she speaks German, French and Spanish. She is studying Mandarin and has translated legal texts from French into English for publication.
“I am motivated by business solutions that positively transform and inspire individuals, communities and nations.”
Senior Advisor, 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 publicly-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.
“Desire is the key to determination, but it’s the determination and commitment to unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” Mario Andretti
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
Stephen serves as an associate in the TWG Accra office. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science and management and is credited with ten years of experience in research and ICT. Prior to joining TWG, he managed research projects for the Noguchi Memorial Institute and Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) while providing ICT support services and training to a number of renowned Ghanaian companies. Stephen’s expertise is leading economic field research projects addressing important data gaps in commercial due diligence and feasibility studies. He has conducted research in a number of African countries at both the grass-roots and institutional levels. He is passionate about his work and believes that impacting others is a key purpose for life. He speaks Twi and Ga.
“Whatever you have to say, God has time to listen if you have time to pray.”
Africa Business & AGOA Resources
AFRICAN GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY ACT
Rosa Whitaker was a hands-on architect of the African Growth And Opportunity Act (AGOA), a landmark legislation that provides duty-free access to the US market for essentially all products produced in Africa. AGOA continues to be the center-piece of US-Africa …Read More ›
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.