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For Immediate Release Contact: Julie Cram/Monica Hill
Thursday, January 31, 2002 202-482-3809


U.S. Department of Commerce’s Maria Cino to Lead a Delegation of U.S. Firms to Africa
to Seek New Business Opportunities

Several U.S. companies will explore first-hand new trade opportunities in African markets as part of a Women in Business Development mission led by Maria Cino, Assistant Secretary and Director General of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service. The February 6 –14 mission will include stops in Gaborone, Botswana, and Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town, South Africa.

"Africa’s movement towards trade liberalization and privatization is creating new demand for American know-how and expertise," said Cino. "American firms are well-positioned to help in Africa’s growth and development."

Companies participating in the mission include Global Med-Net International of Naperville, Illinois; KDI, Inc., of Conyers, Georgia; Security Options of Detroit, Michigan; and Energy Conversion Devices, Inc., of Rochester Hills, Michigan.

"Small- and medium-sized firms are the backbone of America’s economy," Cino said. "Our goal is to help these businesses tap their full export potential."

Participants will also attend the Leadership and Linkages for Women in Trade and Investment conference in Gabarone, which will bring together businesswomen from around the world to explore new opportunities.

The trade mission is organized by the U.S. Commercial Service, a Commerce Department agency with a global network of trade experts in 151 international offices and 107 Export Assistance Centers across the U.S. Last year the agency helped U.S. businesses make more than $34 billion in export sales. For more information on the U.S. Commercial Service, please visit www.BuyUSA.com .

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