U.S.: Congressman Bobby L. Rush Re-introduces the AIDA Legislation

In February of 2011, U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) re-introduced “The African Investment and Diaspora Act of 2011” (AIDA), a bill designed to further strengthen the trade relationship between the United States and Africa.  H.R. 656 expresses the sense of Congress that the U.S. should continue to support efforts to foster socio-economic development and economic growth in Africa by:


(i)  pursuing efforts to increase collaboration among United States government departments and agencies to more closely integrate and coordinate U.S. programs and policies aimed at promoting trade and investment with Africa;
(ii)  fostering United States public-private partnerships and other investments in Africa; and
(iii)  supporting and fostering citizen-led efforts to form business, technical, academic, and socio-cultural ties with Africans and supporting the efforts of all Americans and groups with interests and ties to Africa.


Key provisions of H.R. 656 include the following:
•  Creates a U.S. Special Representative for U.S.-Africa Trade, Development and Diaspora Affairs within the Department of State and recommends that this position serve as the head of an interagency working group whose mission would include convening a permanent, interagency United States-Africa Trade and Development Consultative Action Group.
•  Establishes five, regional centers to serve the northeastern, southern, plains, Midwest, western and northwestern regions of the continental United States with headquarters in cities with the highest proportion of African Diaspora residents
•  Recommends the creation of a report to Congress on the impact of this act on trade investments and job creation in the United States and Africa and the impact of the role of the African Diaspora in the United States in improving United States-Africa trade relations and economic development progress in Africa.  Click here to read press release from Congressman Rush’s Office.


    This is what the world needs right. Representative Bobby Rush couldn’t be more exact and pungent in conceptualizing this legislation. I have interviewed several African business owners in North Carolina on my TV program, “Dr. Frederick’s Show”. These aggressive entrepreneurs live and work in North Carolina, pay all the taxes necessary. This piece of legislation should pass. I will intensify my coverage of this subject matter. The several individuals living in other states connect with the subject matter, and my next move would be to sensitize them to this piece of legislation, an guide them along the lines that would be to keep them in the loop with constant updates. I look forward to success the said piece of legislation.

    (919) 264-7882

  • Having opened and managed the State of California’s Office of Trade and Investment in South Africa from 1995 to 2000, and having been engaged in US-Africa trade, investment and economic development work since 1991–through today — it seems that there is no additional need for more bureaucratic layers here in the US to “promote” US- Africa trade and investment. There is already a US Trade Representative, there is already a US Department of Commerce, and there is already a US State Department. Adding more layers of bodies to “coordinate” and “facilitate” and convene more “meetings” will have very little effect on advancing meaningful trade, investment and economic development.

  • I don’t like the creation of more bureaucracy; however, unfortunately, unless there is a specific unit that establishes a relationship to African-American businesses as a central component of U.S. Africa trade, African-American businesses will be left out as they are now. There are no African-American businesses that have gown and are primary contractors with South Africa. I would bet that all of the Trade set up with the California Office of Trade and Investment in South Africa between 1995 and 2000 would show very little or no African American businesses as large prime trade and contractors with South Africa. The exclusion today is very real. The evidence is ever present in many studies.

  • If this Act is not a viable solution to increasing trade, investment and economic development on the continent, what is? Or, how can the act be amended?

  • If I understand what Mr. Dewayne Gathers’ posted statement implies, is that the U.S. Trade Department, U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. State Department are very effectual in wasting the taxpayer’s money, i.e., convening meetings, coordinating and facilitating, but very ineffectual in advancing trade, investment and economic development in Africa, something that I and many other Black owned businesses throughout the Black Diaspora are acutely aware of. Lessons Learned… eliminate all agencies within the U.S. Departments of Trade and Commerce now promoting “African Economic” development and growth initiatives and move their charters and missions under the agency established by Congressman Rush’s HR 656 Bill.

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