Atlanta‘s ambition to become increasingly connected with the continent of Africa will take another step forward next year as its local Liberian consulate and Ghana‘s chamber of commerce collaborate with the National Black MBA Association on an educational and trade mission to West Africa Feb. 16-24.

Jesse Tyson, president and CEO of the association, told Global Atlanta that “connecting with Africa is a priority of mine. We want our people to go over and learn more about the business opportunities and to expose them to the general realities of Africa.”

The association’s members participating on the trip will be seeking to connect with business, educational and cultural exchange opportunities, but participants are not being limited to association members. All interested parties are welcome to attend and should register by Dec. 15.

Under Mr. Tyson’s leadership, the association, which is 40 years old and has more than 14,000 members and 300 corporate partners, moved its headquarters from Chicago to Atlanta in 2016.

His worldview is based on a rock solid business career. As the executive in charge of Exxon Mobil‘s Global Aviation business based in Brussels, he directed a $10 billion business with clients in more than 50 countries.

Prior to this post, he served in many positions within Exxon Mobile with responsibilities in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the United States.

The move to Atlanta was based, he said, on the city’s “vibrancy” and the presence of so many educational institutions within a 100 mile radius.

The idea for the upcoming trip to Liberia and Ghana occurred at the Sheroes Forum┬áin Accra, Ghana‘s capital, in May of this year, which was attended by Cynthia Blandford, the honorary consul general of Liberia and Matilda Arthin, president of the Ghana International Chamber of Commerce, both based in Atlanta.

During the conference designed for women in political and business leadership roles, they met with Abiola Bankole-Hameed, the CFO of the association, and developed their plans for the upcoming trade and educational mission.

Ms. Blandford told Global Atlanta that the consulate has upgraded its website providing an accounting of its many activities this year and considers the upcoming visit with the association members and others who want to join as a way of celebrating the 10th anniversary of her appointment as the honorary consul general of Liberia by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in 2009.

She is to leave for Liberia this coming weekend, Dec. 8, with Paula Fontana, the vice president for programming at the association, to conduct a walk-thru for the 2019 visit.

Ms. Arthin is currently conducting the walk-thru for the Ghanaian leg of the trip.

To learn more and to register for the voyage, click here.