Gateway to African Trade Visiting Trade Officials See Potential in Jacksonville's Port

Article excerpt

To a group of African economic and trade specialists visiting

Jacksonville, the city has not only beautiful beaches but

excellent potential to be an important link in trade routes to

Africa.

Nearing the end of a three-week tour of five U.S. cities, some

of the group's members said yesterday that Jacksonville's coast

reminds them of the beaches in their countries, places like

Mauritius, South Africa, Madagascar and Mozambique.

But more importantly, the group, which includes international

trade directors, economists and journalists, recognized

Jacksonville as a well-situated transportation hub that could

play a role in increasing trade relations between the United

States and Africa.

During a tour of the city's port yesterday, the 15 group

members learned that poultry shipments to Angola began leaving

this year through Jacksonville. They took that as an encouraging

sign.

"Jacksonville can be a central point, a gateway, for the trade

routes to Africa," said Lance Kashugyera, senior economist for

Uganda's Ministry of Planning and Economic Development. "There's

a lot of potential in Africa, for people interested in setting

up things like infrastructure and telecommunications."

His lasting impression of Kansas City was the vast amount of

grain produced there; his main impression of Jacksonville is the

port.

"The cities all have important links to offer," Kashugyera

said.

The group, hosted by the U.S. State Department's Information

Agency and Jacksonville's International Resource Center, has

been to Washington, D.C., Minneapolis and Kansas City and is

scheduled to leave Jacksonville today for New York before going

home.

In addition to seeing the Jacksonville Port Authority's

Talleyrand and Blount Island terminals, the group visited the

Chamber of Commerce, the University of North Florida, the

African-American Chamber of Commerce and Edward Waters College. …