Pace NYC EVENT ADVISORY – Thursday, April 5, 2012, 6PM: “Africa is Open for Business”

Despite its undoubted poverty and hardship, Africa is also a continent of innovation, enterprise and opportunity. Join us for a panel discussion on Thursday, April 5 at 6 pm on Pace’s NYC Campus – West Lecture Hall – to learn why trade, investment and business are on the rise in Africa.

AFRICA is not only open for business … 

It is a place of enormous business opportunity.  Here’s why:

  • IMF recently projected economic growth in Africa to reach 5.8% in 2012.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at a faster clip than Brazil and India, boasting six of the 10 fastest growing economies over the last 10 years and projected to have seven of the ten fastest growing economies over the next five.
  • Offers a consumer base of more than 900 million people.
  • Growing faster than the OECD, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Middle East.
  • By 2020, five cities will each have household spending to rival Mumbai
  • Its regulations and laws encourage investment. Between 2006 and 2011, 39 African countries rose up the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” Index.
  • Retail and financial sectors are attracting interest.
  • Chinese, Indian and Brazilian companies are increasing their investments.
  • Twenty African companies can now lay claim to revenues of at least $3 billion, while small and medium-sized African businesses are seeking new openings.

JOIN US FOR A PANEL DISCUSSION. Where is this growth coming from? How does this boom differ than others in Africa’s past? What opportunities exist for exporters and investors? These questions and more will be addressed by these experts currently doing business in Africa:

  • Andrew O. Coggins, PhD, Professor of Management – Pace’s Lubin School of Business
  • Tanya Cole, U.S. Commercial Service International Trade Officer, U.S. Department of Commerce, Long Island USEAC
  • Shawn Hazan, Director of Business Development/Global Markets at BJI Fashion Group
  • Oumar Nabe, PhD, MBA, President & CEO – Reveal Analytics, LLC
  • Pascal Niedermann, CEO – The Maestro Group
  • Camille Richardson-  Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy in Kenya
  • Michael Sudarkasa, CEO, Africa Business Group
  • Myles M. Matthews, Adjunct Professor – International Marketing, Pace’s Lubin School of Business (Moderator)  

When: Thursday, April 5, 2012, 6-8 pm  

Venue: Pace University, West Lecture Hall, One Pace Plaza, NYC.   

RSVP/Cost: mmatthews@pace.edu, (212) 831-0900.  Free; photo ID required for entry.  

Media Contact: Samuella Becker, sbecker2@pace.edu, 212-346-1637 or 917-734-5172

NEWS RELEASE: Project Girls perform at the White House

Project Girl Performance Collective, a nonprofit founded by Dyson alumna Ashley Marinaccio ’07, Theater and Sociology/Anthropology dual major, performed at the White House this past Friday at the request of First Lady Michelle Obama. Dyson student Dominique Fishback, a current junior BFA Acting major, also performed with the group.

Friday, June 24, 2011, Washington, D.C. –Project Girl Performance Collective (projectgirlperformance collective.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of young women (ages 12- 21) through the performing arts, today performed their show Project Girl: Congo at the White House. The event coincided with the First Lady’s trip to Africa. Project Girl: Congo raises awareness about discrimination and violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Guests heard stories from the ground and participated in activities organized by the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign. Jocelyn Frye, Deputy Assistant to the President, and Director of Policy and Special Projects for the First Lady, hosted the event.


Lynn Nottage, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright for ‘Ruined,’ lauds the work of Project Girl Performance Collective. “It is incredibly moving to see Project Girls using their creative talents to raise their voices in support of women struggling against gender specific human rights abuses in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo. It reminds us that no voice is too small or weak to make a difference.”
“The honor of performing at the White House is beyond our wildest dreams,” professed Jessica Greer Morris, Executive Director of Project Girl Performance Collective. “With humble beginnings, Project Girls started by rehearsing in Washington Square Park and performing on the streets of New York City.” Founder and Artistic Director Ashley Marinaccio added, “In addition to raising the status of women, President Obama and The First Lady are acknowledging the power of performing arts in educating, organizing and creating lasting social change.” Project Girl company member Dominique Fishback, age 20, of East New York who grew up amidst “shootouts and killings” in Brooklyn, added, “Now my hood has something big to be proud of. One of their own is performing in the White House! Thank you Michelle Obama for opening your home and giving a voice to girls like me.”


The Project Girl Performance Collective empowers young women (ages 12-21) to write and perform their own work by creating a safe space to address contemporary social, political and cultural issues through the performing arts and written word. Collective members are extremely talented songwriters, choreographers and prolific spoken word poets who write about human rights issues affecting girls both at home and abroad. Project Girl Performance Collective is committed to using theatre and performance to build awareness, trigger action and social change and to raise the status of women worldwide.
For more information about Project Girl or their performance at the White House, contact: Diane Mancher, One Potata Productions, onepotata@gmail.com; 212-353-3478 or visit the Project Girl website projectgirlperformancecollective.org

Pace Professor on the Forefront of Efforts to Train Students in Africa in Mobile Technologies

Wireless mobile technologies are exploding in Africa, where mobile phone subscribers have grown to well over 200 million. The continent is the fastest growing mobile market in the world. Beyond that, the devices are boosting economic and social development — helping small fishing crews find markets, hospitals treat remote patients, and voting monitors make elections more fair.

Contact: Chris Cory, ccory@pace.edu, 212-346-1117, 917-608-8164

Covering the story: Scharff and her colleagues will be available in Senegal in the town of Thies, some 35 km from Dakar, as well as in Dakar enroute, and by telephone (00221 77 200 7754) and email (cscharff@pace.edu). They will also be available in the US by mid-January.

Apps for Africa — by Africans

Pace professor’s “boot camp” in Senegal January 4-9 to train app developers who can “meet the needs of their countries”

New York, NY, December 27, 2009 — Wireless mobile technologies are exploding in Africa, where mobile phone subscribers have grown to well over 200 million. The continent is the fastest growing mobile market in the world. Beyond that, the devices are boosting economic and social development — helping small fishing crews find markets, hospitals treat remote patients, and voting monitors make elections more fair.

But “developing mobile applications adapted to the African market is a challenge and an opportunity demanding a deep understanding of the African needs and realities.” And that will take many more local app programmers.

So says Christelle Scharff, 35, an innovative associate professor at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, who is on the forefront of efforts to train and empower this important area of African manpower.

“African students will play a crucial role in this enterprise but need to be better trained and prepared as software developers, engineers and entrepreneurs to be actors in this promising field,” she says.

The first week of January, Scharff travels to Thies, Senegal, 35 km. outside the capital of Dakar, to lead her second Senegalese “boot camp.” With colleagues, she will train 24 students both in the development of locally-appropriate apps, and in entrepreneurship for launching them.

KomKom and Wannigame. This year’s boot camp builds on one Scharff organized during a sabbatical in Senegal last year — and on her insight that mobile phones, after all, are computers that can be programmed.

Because cell phones are far more widespread than computers in the developing world, Scharff focuses on applications that do not need Web access. Rather than posting school assignments on a web site, for example, professors and teachers need apps for sending them as SMS messages.

In addition to programming, Scharff, a certified Scrum master (Scrum is a technique of managing programming teams), also introduces collaborative “technologies we take for granted” in the US but that students in developing countries do not know like wikis, Google Docs, and Facebook. “The students in the first camp went crazy with Facebook and pretty soon were posting messages in Woloff [their own language]” Scharff recalls.

Out of last year’s camp came four apps and four websites, including

• Accounting apps that are helping leather and textile craftspeople manage their sales and expenses. One of them, KomKom, earned one of 10 prizes in its category in an international contest sponsored by Nokia that had 1700 entries.

• “Wannigame,” which teaches numbers to six-year olds by having them respond to messages on a phone screen — with SMS sent to their supervising parent or teacher. The apps are described at http://atlantis.seidenberg.pace.edu/wiki/senegal/Outcomes.

Camp graduates are in demand. Two of them already have interned at Manobi (http://www.manobi.net), a mobile company in Dakar, and UNICEF has started asking Scharff to recommend workers with the kind of training the camps provide.

App competition. This year, Scharff added a nationwide competition for socially-valuable apps. The 12 team entries — “that many is a success, considering that Senegalese universities are not yet teaching this field!” — include apps for small businesses and for letting university students manage their schedules, grades and exams directly on their mobile phones.

The competition judges are from IBM‘s Academic Initiative and the Cell-Life NGO in South Africa, the University of Guelph in Canada, and a New York mobile company, SonicBoomGames (http://www.sonicboomgames.com/).

Crucially for the future of home-grown apps, word is spreading. Last year boot-camp members came from just one of Senegal’s six major universities, but largely thanks to a training Scharff conducted for 22 faculty members, this year the competition has gathered students from four of them. Scharff is overcoming what she calls “a dark point” in the African mobile story: “most of the social initiatives in mobile are concentrating in English-speaking countries of Africa rather than French-speaking countries” like Senegal, a former French colony. Scharff, born in France, became interested in French-speaking West Africa when she met students from the area at her university in Nancy and traveled there on vacations. The initiative’s web site, http://mobilesenegal.com, has photos and results. Further descriptions and a video of Scharff are at http://mobileactive.org/profile-series-christelle-scharff-teaching-mobiles. WHEN AND WHERE. The boot camp starts Monday, January 4 at the University of Thies. Participants will meet with beneficiaries of their work (teachers and traditional artisans), and will present their work during an official reception January 9th at the Lat Dior Hotel in Thies. Two companies — Nokia and Pearson Education – as well as the National Collegiate Innovators and Inventors Alliance have endorsed and/or partially funded the project. The boot camp – one of several now growing up in parts of Africa – is run with colleagues from the University of Thies and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. About Pace. For 103 years Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu. Visit Pace at Pace.edu | Facebook: Pace University News | Twitter @PaceUNews | Flickr | YouTube; follow Pace students on Twitter: NYC | PLV –