Chairman, African and Caribbean Business Council of Greater Philadelphia; Chairman of the Board, UNESCO Center for Global Education; and Member of the Board of Directors, Constituency for Africa

Mr. Straughter is a specialist in International Business Development with nearly 40 years of experience in international development he has lived and worked in several countries on the continents of Africa, Central Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and Russia. As a finance specialist, Mr. Straughter has provided services to foreign governments in governance and transparency, worked with Finance Ministers and provided advice and counsel to governments on trade policy, foreign direct investment and economic growth and cooperative economic development.

Mr. Straughter has considerable experience working with bilateral and multilateral financial development entities such as The World Bank, USAID, African Development Foundation, African Development Bank, Eastern Caribbean Investment Promotion service and U.S. Trade and Development Administration, OPIC, Export Import Bank. Mr. Straughter has experience in the following countries: Cameroon, Egypt, India, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Israel, Niger, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Senegal, Togo, Virgin Islands, South Africa, Russia, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Liberia, Nigeria, Denmark, Sweden, Holland and Nigeria.

Mr. Straughter advises public and private sector entities on issues related to international trade, exporting and importing, market analysis and preparing market penetration strategies to emerging markets for small and medium sized businesses. He organizes investment promotion seminars in the United States on behalf of developing countries, particularly African and Caribbean countries. Successful trade missions have been organized to Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Liberia, Jamaica, Brazil and Nigeria. Mr. Straughter is also a specialist on issues affecting small and medium enterprises in developing countries and the United States.

Mr. Straughter designed, implemented and directed the Minority Export Development Technical Assistance Program (MEDTAP) for the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce. MEDTAP provided management and technical assistance (MTA) to over 300 minority firms in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in International trade, exporting, importing, joint ventures and organizing trade missions. Under Mr. Straughter’s direction MEDTAP prepared financial packages, marketing analysis and penetration studies and obtained loan guarantees and risk insurance, for the completion of international transactions from 1989 to 1998.

Mr. Straughter is a major advocate for the development of United States, Africa and Caribbean business initiatives. He has worked with the Eastern Caribbean Investment Promotion Service (ECIPS) organizing trade and investment missions to Caribbean countries. He is an original member of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) coalition that congress passed to promote trade and investment between the United States and African countries. In the state of Pennsylvania Mr. Straughter is a founding member of the African Caribbean Business Council, serves on the board of directors of the US Ghana Chamber of Commerce, the US Cameroon Chamber of Commerce and serves as the Chairman of the board of the US Guinea Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Straughter is also a specialist in state and local government issues and has served as the Executive Director of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL). NBCSL is an organization of 700 Black legislators from 44 states and the US Virgin Islands. Mr. Straughter has organized delegations of state legislators to African and Caribbean countries and foreign delegations to study trade and economic development issues in the United States for NBCSL. Mr. Straughter is senior advisor to the World Conference of Mayors and currently serves as the Interim President of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Foundation. .

Mr. Straughter has served as a senior advisor and worked directly with the late Reverend Leon H. Sullivan, Founder and Chairman, OIC International and the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH). Mr. Straughter participated in the design and implementation of programs in which OIC International provided training, agricultural and economic development to countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean. These projects have resulted in over $75 million in funding. Mr. Straughter worked with IFESH and Rev. Sullivan in the organization of the African – African American Summits in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Gabon and Ghana. Each IFESH Summit bought together thousands of business leaders, Africans and African-Americans to develop economic development strategies to advance the economies of sub-Sahara African Countries and to advance a global African diaspora initiative.

Mr. Straughter is a specialist in the organization, design and financing of consumer cooperatives. He served as the Acting Director, Office of Self-Help Development, National Consumer Cooperative Bank (NCCB). In this position Mr. Straughter managed a $75 million development fund that provided equity capital and loans to cooperative business enterprises across the United States, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. He has studied for an advanced degree in Cooperative Economics at the Union Graduate School and traveled to Demark, Sweden and Holland to study the success of their cooperative economic systems.