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Ambassador Lewis Lukens Opens USA Week Dakar

Ambassador Lewis Lukens and Minister Maty Sy Diallo opening the 4th edition of “USA Week

Ambassador Lewis Lukens and Minister Maty Sy Diallo opening the 4th edition of “USA Week" in Dakar. [US Embassy photo]

Ambassador Lewis Lukens and Senegalese Minister Maty Sy Diallo. [US Embassy photo]

Ambassador Lewis Lukens and Senegalese Minister Maty Sy Diallo. [US Embassy photo]

On Wednesday, May 23 Ambassador Lewis Lukens and Mrs. Maty Sy Diallo, Senegal’s Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Handicrafts, opened the 4th edition of “USA Week" in Dakar.

USA Week occurs once every two years.  The American Chamber of Commerce in Senegal partners with the United States Embassy in Dakar to plan and facilitate all the USA Week activities.  The main objective is to bring representatives of the business world together to strengthen economic and trade relations between the U.S. and Senegal.

On May 24, American businesswoman Ms. Rahama Wright moderated a conference on access to the U.S. market.  She was invited by the U.S. Embassy to share her story with Senegalese businessmen and women as a practical example of a successful experiment.  Ms. Wright discussed the important steps every entrepreneur must know if they want to export goods to the U.S.  For example, to be marketable in the U.S., products must comply with a number of rules: prior approval by U.S. trade officials, specific forms of product identification, packaging, import permits, customs services, etc.

Ms. Wright discovered shea butter production while still an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.  As she interviewed shea butter producers, she became aware of the many challenges faced by producers who wanted to enter the U.S. market.  In 2002, she became a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, where she supported the creation of the first shea butter cooperative in the village of Dio.  As a first generation Ghanaian-American, Rahama understood the struggles that many women face in their villages and communities.  She knew she could help these women maximize local resources and become entrepreneurs in the global market.  Rahama Wright relied on the lessons she had learned to found Shea Yeleen International.

Since 2007, USA Week-Dakar has established itself as the biggest event for American business in Dakar.