Plans for a 540-acre commercial and educational center in Fulton County promoting the countries of the African Union were further unveiled July 14 during a visit to Atlanta by John Kayode Shinkaye, the chief of staff of the AU’s chairman.

Although the funds are still in the process of being raised for the project, Mr. Shinkaye is the second AU official to be briefed in Atlanta on plans for what is to be composed of exhibitions from AU members as well as an array of buildings for educational purposes.

Mr. Shinkaye attended an evening reception at the Africa World Museum and Center downtown hosted by Chief Tunde Adetuntji, who opened the museum at 135 Peachtree St. for the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta.

Ben Kioko, head of the AU’s legal department, and Jinmi Adisa, director of the AU’s diaspora program, accompanied Mr. Shinkaye.

In April, Amina Salum Ali, the AU’s representative in Washington, endorsed the project following a presentation at the museum.

Mr. Shinkaye is the chief of staff for Alpha Oumar Konaré, chair of the African Union Commission that serves as the AU’s administrative branch. Mr. Konaré served as president of Mali for two five-year terms.

Olu Olatidaye, CEO of the technology consulting firm Tido Tech International Inc. and an engineering professor at Clark Atlanta University, provided an overview of the project’s proposed development through a detailed display of computer graphics.

The property is to be developed in the shape of the continent of Africa somewhat akin to an amusement park with Africa’s major rivers replicated for boat rides and its borders with paths allowing for travel by golf cart or by rail.

The village aims to attract tourists who will have the opportunity to learn more about each of the AU’s 53 member countries and is to include facilities where trade fairs and workshops may be held.

Joyce Rhodes, who heads special projects for the Fulton County’s economic development department, is coordinating the fund-raising efforts.

Among the officials who attended the meeting were Greg Pridgeon, chief of state of the city of Atlanta; Joe Beasely, Southern regional director of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; Joe Johnson, director of Fulton County Housing and Community Development Authority; William Settle, Delta’s program manager for its global diversity talent acquisition and retention program;

Akanmu G. Adebayo, executive director, Institute for Global Initiatives, Kennesaw State University; Freda Turner, Delta’s manager of international commercial sales development; Gerald L. Durley, senior pastor, Providence Missionary Baptist Church of Atlanta and Keith A. Butler II, co-pastor of the World of Faith Christian Center, Smyrna.

Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories
Fulton County Economic Development Dept. – Joyce Rhodes

Chief Tunde Adetuntji (404) 588-0404