Commissioner Dennis C. Moss Urges Administration to Position Miami-Dade County as the "Gateway to Africa"
(MIAMI, FL) - Commissioner Dennis C. Moss recently returned from Washington D.C. after meeting with the Honorable Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal to discuss travel and trade between Miami-Dade County and West Africa. President Sall was in Washington as a part of the U.S.-Africa Leader’s Summit which brought together approximately 50 heads of states from the continent of Africa.
“The meeting with President Sall was the direct result of the 4th U.S. Africa Air Transportation Summit held in Miami-Dade County,” Commissioner Moss said. “The Summit was sponsored by the Africa Trade Development Center, led by Chairman Dr. Gershwin Blyden, President Fred Oladeinde, and Executive Director Tony Okonmah, who have been the leaders in our community on the issue of Africa for over 20 years, through the Foundation for Democracy in Africa.”
Recognizing the potential benefit to local business, Commissioner Moss, who serves as Chairman of the Transportation and Aviation Committee, issued a call to action for the County to fully explore the feasibility of key projects through partnership opportunities with County government and private sector businesses in our community to position Miami-Dade County as the “Gateway to Africa.”
President Sall indicated his support for working with Miami-Dade County and the Africa Trade Development Center. “Decades ago, our community embarked upon nurturing trade and travel relationships with Latin America, and as a result we are recognized today as the ‘Gateway to South America and the Caribbean,’” said Commissioner Moss. “We have the model and the decades of experience that can position our County to do the same in Africa. Like in Africa today, Latin America had its fair share of political turmoil, military confrontation, civil war, economic stagnation, health epidemics and other issues. Some of these risk-posing events still exist today. However, this did not stop Miami-Dade County, from pursuing our goal of being the number one location in the United States for trade, commerce, tourism, banking, aviation and maritime activities with South America.”
The model began to take shape during the recent Transportation Summit held at the Miami-Airport Convention Center where topics were discussed including the creation of an Aviation and Cruise Gateway between Miami-Dade and West Africa through Senegal and refocusing on cargo and other maritime issues through the existing Sister Seaport Agreement with the Port of Dakar. The development of a maintenance repair overhaul and training facility in Senegal was also discussed.
In a memo dated August 12, 2014, Commissioner Moss requested that the following actions take place in order to fully explore the feasibility of these projects going forward. The first was for Miami-Dade County, through the administration, to work with the Africa Trade Development Center (ATDC) and the Republic Of Senegal to create a Sister Airport Agreement with the new airport in Senegal. Next is to complete an air corridor study to gauge the opportunity for direct flights from Miami to Senegal in support of Resolution R-466-13; work with ATDC and Senegal to re-energize the current Sister Seaport Agreement with the Port of Dakar to facilitate cargo and cruise opportunities. Finally, the administration is encouraged to work with ATDC, Senegal and our business community to explore the possibility of local Miami-Dade County Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) businesses developing a MRO and Training Facility in Senegal where the Senegalese government has the land and funding for this project.
Today, the continent of Africa boasts a 5 to 7 percent economic growth rate. “It is the last frontier,” said Commissioner Moss. “Companies that get in earlier will reap enormous benefits, and it is a continent with countries that have expressed on many occasions the desire to have bilateral trade and relations with our community.”
Some of the fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, a continent of 1 billion people, projected to grow to 2.3 billion by 2050. “The same questions and doubts that were expressed during the time that we were nurturing relationships with South America on our way to becoming the ‘Gateway to the Americas’ are some of the same questions and doubts being expressed today about Africa,” said Commissioner Moss. “We have an unprecedented opportunity to follow a blueprint that has worked for us in the past and make Miami-Dade County the ‘Gateway to Africa.’”