US Department of State, Office of the Spokesperson (Washington, DC, Jan. 16, 2012) – Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Jose W. Fernandez will travel to Marrakech, Morocco, followed by stops in Algiers, Algeria, and Paris, France, from January 15-20, 2012. In Morocco, Assistant Secretary Fernandez will lead the U.S. delegation to the second U.S. – Maghreb Entrepreneurship Conference, taking place January 16-18. This conference is the annual regional partnership event for the U.S. – North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (NAPEO), announced last year at the inaugural U.S. – Maghreb Entrepreneurship Conference in Algeria as part of the global alliance, Partners for a New Beginning. These initiatives are linked to President Obama’s Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship that took place in Washington, D.C. in April 2010.
This year’s conference will bring together business leaders, youth, and entrepreneurs from North Africa, the North African Diaspora and the United States. A full day of training and skills development sessions focused on Maghreb youth will take place on January 16. The conference will include a moderated discussion with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson on the key role of public-private partnerships in fostering economic opportunity. It will also feature workshops focused on advancing entrepreneurship, improving access to capital, enabling small and medium-sized enterprise, engaging Maghreb diaspora partners in the United States, catalyzing youth entrepreneurship, promoting cross-border business partnership initiatives, deepening transatlantic business networking, cultivating innovation and incubating technology, and exploring business opportunities in the creative industries.
Assistant Secretary Fernandez also plans to travel to Algeria January 19-20 to discuss U.S. economic policy in North Africa and entrepreneurship with government, civil society and private sector representatives. The Assistant Secretary will then travel to France, where he will meet with officials at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and will speak at the Institut Francais des Relations Internationales (IFRI) about economic policy in North Africa.