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
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.
According to African Merchandising Services Africa the future of African Textile and Apparel Exports is bright as the continent is an attractive destination due to among others abundant labor, low wages, AGOA’s 10 year renewal.
Rosa Whitaker, President of the Whitaker Group, discusses the opportunities for apparel exports to the US for African manufacturers offered under AGOA, at Source Africa 2015. The third annual Source Africa textiles and apparel trade show event took place in Cape Town, South Africa, June 9-11, 2015.
Africa’s own media have a critical role to play in helping Africans — and the rest of the world — overcome stereotypes to grasp the continent’s inspiring deeper truths, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta argued at the 2015 CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards in Nairobi last weekend. We agree.
“The Whitaker Group is no ordinary business consultancy”, says Salt, a new UK-based magazine and website that explores compassionate business thinking in an inaugural issue profile of Rosa Whitaker.
“This evening I was honored to be among those joining President Barack Obama at the White House to celebrate the renewal of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act in strengthened form for an unprecedented ten years.”
TWG in Action
At TWG, “We Work Until You Win”
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.”
Ricardo O. Bernard
Vice President and Chief Client Engagement Officer
Ricardo O. Bernard brings TWG rich, hands-on experience advising and executing successful mergers, acquisitions and private equity transactions in Africa and the US. A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, Ricardo cut his teeth with Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton LLP in New York. His clients included sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and domestic private equity funds. He worked with some of Wall Street’s largest banks on the formation of their private investment funds. In 2011, Ricardo launched his own firm, Bernard Law Group, with offices in New York and Paris, to focus on transactions in Africa. His clients have included energy, mining, health care, mobile communications and private equity firms as well as the African Development Bank and the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He has represented them throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, including Mali, Ivory Coast, Kenya, South Sudan and South Africa. For the AfDB, he helped execute over $1 billion in financings. For the Global Fund, he worked with health and foreign affairs ministers to secure $500 million to combat the spread of disease and helped establish the legal framework under the which the Fund channeled resources to Liberia and Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak. “Working in Africa has been a wonderful professional opportunity,” he told Black Enterprise Magazine. “While the continent has its own unique difficulties and each country has its own set of cultural rules, I believe I am at the forefront of providing legal services in one of the world’s fastest growing regions.” Ricardo joined TWG as Transaction Adviser in 2015 before taking up his present position on a full-time basis. He is fluent in French.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin
Tony Annan is Senior Advisor to The Whitaker Group. Tony is the former Group CFO of leading pan-African Bank Ecobank Transnational Inc. where he provided financial leadership for operations in 35 countries. Tony built his deep expertise in international finance at the IMF, serving as Deputy Division Chief for Procurement, Budgeting, and Strategic Management, leading a team of 30 in the Technology and General Services Department. Before working at the IMF, he was a Vice President and Manager of Finance at Citigroup from 2004 through 2009. As a native of Ghana, Tony held various management positions in both the private and public sectors, including working as Treasurer at Standard Bank Group and First Atlantic Merchant Bank in Accra.
Tony concurrently serves as an adjunct Professor of Finance and Strategy while pursuing a PhD in Finance from EDHEC Risk Institute. He holds an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MSc in Operations Research and Mathematics from the Warsaw School of Economics.
“Never accept the status quo. Improve on whatever falls into your hands.”
Nicole has over 19 years’ experience spanning Wall Street, industry and international development, with particular expertise in investment facilitation, competitiveness and enterprise development in a variety of sectors including telecom/technology, agribusiness, consumer products, manufacturing and clean energy in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Most recently, Nicole led the Capital Advisory Services team for International Executive Service Corps (IESC). Her team advised clients on raising debt and mezzanine expansion capital in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East from both impact investors and development finance institutions, including the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Prior to IESC, Nicole was the Founder and Managing Partner of Acadia Development Group, a boutique consultancy bringing together private capital, cutting edge technology and world class management practices to create scalable, sustainable social impact and lasting development outcomes in emerging markets. From 2005 to 2013, she was a partner in Vinnic Group of New York and Washington, DC, a boutique consultancy focused on developing innovative business platforms to leverage clients’ existing assets and intellectual property in the ICT sector to create new businesses. From 1996 to 2005, she held a series of posts as an investment banker at Salomon Smith Barney in both the global M&A group in New York and the European Media and Telecom group in London. On the corporate side, she was a Manager in the Corporate Development Group at NBC, Inc. (GE/Comcast), and at Primedia, Inc., a KKR company, she served as Vice President of Business Development at Primedia Software-on- Demand. Nicole has executed projects in 15 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East and speaks fluent French.
Senior Advisor – Global Engagement and Communications
Simon Barber is the principal and founder of Izwi Communications LLC, a public relations, reputation management and nation branding consultancy. He was the Washington-based US Country Manager for Brand SA, an initiative of the South African presidency, from 2002 through 2014, working to position South Africa as a competitive business and investment destination. He assisted TWG and its clients with communications in the firm’s early years. He was previously a highly regarded correspondent and columnist for South Africa’s leading financial newspaper Business Day, for which he continues to write a regular column.
“Be heard. Not herd.”
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
Office and Finance Manager
Anastasia has more than 6 years of professional experience providing office management, event/project coordination and marketing assistance. Experienced in providing administrative support to high-level international entities, Anastasia assisted with project coordination, event planning, and guest services while employed by the Embassies of Switzerland and Israel, and by the World Bank. She is experienced in creating, auditing and maintaining financial reports, databases and QuickBooks data. Anastasia comes to TWG from Encon Services International LLC in Bethesda where she served as Office Manager. She is fluent in Russian, German and Hebrew.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi
Country Liaison, Nigeria
Chine is a young, dynamic citizen of Nigeria with a passion for entrepreneurship, who combines experience working in marketing in the U.S. with a deep understanding of business in Africa. He has held marketing, research, and business engagement positions at SilverBird, one of Africa’s largest multimedia entertainment companies; the Global Adaptation Institute and the Corporate Council on Africa, both NGOs based in Washington, D.C.; and Henry Schein, Inc., the world’s largest supplier of office-based equipment for medical, dental, and veterinary offices. While studying at Boston University, Chine was also very active in the Miracle Corners of the World Youth Leadership Organization which awarded him the Mentor of the Year.
Chine holds a BA in Sociology from Boston University.
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.”
Executive Assistant to the CEO
Hilary brings to TWG a strong background in working in busy, high-stress environments where her organizational skills and ability to multi-task make her an invaluable member of the team. She was appointed by President George W. Bush as the Special Assistant to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation where she planned and arranged the schedule of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters and assisted the Secretary at press conferences and events. She has also served as an intern in the Office of Presidential Appointments and Scheduling at the White House. Most recently, Hilary was the public relations and communications coordinator at Virginia International University (VIU) where she coordinated the university’s marketing, promotional, and public relations efforts, and managed VIU’s social media accounts and viral marketing.
Hilary holds a BSc in Communication Studies from Liberty University.
A seasoned HR professional, Blondy served as Head of Business operations at Arkamai Digital in Accra. She has worked in HR with a focus on performance management for diverse sectors for more than five years and holds a Bachelors degree in Human Resource Development from Oxford Brookes University in the UK. Blondy works from TWG’s Ghana office.
“For the Lord’s Hand is stretched out and no one can turn it back.”
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.