Mayor Sylvester Turner and Jo Jo Dancer. Photo courtesy of Jo Jo Dancer.

The City of Houston marked its 4th annual Houston Africa Day celebration by hosting the African Union Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Ambassador Hilda Suka-Mafudze, and 13 Ambassadors from African nations to Houston.

Africa Day, also known as African Unity Day, is celebrated annually on May 25. It commemorates the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor to the African Union (AU), on this day in 1963.

Houston Africa Day, held annually by Mayor Sylvester Turner, showcases the diversity of the nation’s fourth most populous city and its global presence. 

People from all backgrounds were welcomed as they joined in the celebration with the African community to commemorate the business and cultural contributions of the African diaspora in Houston.

The day began with an invitation-only business forum. Houston is Africa’s third largest trade partner and speakers discussed opportunities for future business.

During the evening celebration, the City of Houston showcased the different regions of the continent through arts, culture and ‘A taste of Africa,’ keeping with the African Union 2021 Africa Day theme: Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa we Want.

“Houston Africa Day is a way to celebrate business and trade opportunities along with the vibrant art, culture, and food of our African diaspora in Houston,” said Mayor Turner. “Houston takes great pride in our rich diversity, and Africa day is a chance to showcase Houston’s ties to the African continent.”

Her Excellency, Ambassador Hilda Suka-Mafudze, African Union Ambassador to the United States.

In addition to the cultural celebration, the Mayor’s Office of Trade and International Affairs hosted the inaugural Houston Africa Day Business Forum for Houston’s top business leaders and stakeholders interested in doing business in Africa.

This half-day forum engaged business executives with African leaders and discussed the tremendous opportunities and potential on the continent.

“The opportunities in Africa in the areas of health care, agriculture, manufacturing and energy are a great match for sectors in which Houston companies are global leaders,” notes MOTIA Director Chris Olson.

Guests included the ambassadors of Angola, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, South Sudan, Togo and Uganda.

“As Africa grows, Houston will ensure that our relationship with this rich and diverse continent will continue to flourish as well. Africa Day is one of our ways to showcase this relationship,” said Houston’s Global Trade Manager for Africa, Mazda Denon.

Houston Africa Day partners whose support was said to have made the event possible included Houston First, Chevron, Wazobia African Market, Office of Business Opportunity, Houston Airport System, Zoa’s Moroccan Restaurant, Peli Peli South African Kitchen, Lucy’s Ethiopian Restaurant and Who’s Who: The African Diaspora.