Corporate Council on Africa (Washington, DC)

22 May 2006

Sierra Leone: Grey's Anatomy Star and U.S. Businesses Arrive for CCA Trade Mission

press release

Washington, DC — A U.S. trade delegation accompanying actor Isaiah Washington of ABC's  Grey's Anatomy, arrived in Sierra Leone today for a five-day trade mission to explore trade and investment opportunities.

"It is our first trade mission to Sierra Leone," said Stephen Hayes, President of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA). "We applaud Isaiah Washington for promoting trade and investment relations between Sierra Leone and the United States."

"I don't want to stop until a McDonald's is in Freetown  (the capital of Sierra Leone).  The one thing I know is that wherever a McDonald's is, no-one is having a war," said a high-spirited Washington, most known for his role as the popular surgeon Dr. Preston Burke on Grey's Anatomy.

CCA member companies participating in the trade mission are the AllAfrica , Goodworks International, Hewlett Packard and the J.R. Boulle Corporation.

The itinerary, prepared by CCA and its partners in Sierra Leone, includes high-level meetings with several cabinet ministers.  Delegates will investigate business opportunities in transportation and telecommunications, mineral mining, energy, power and in the health sector.  Several meetings with the private sector in Sierra Leone have also been scheduled.

"A star like Isaiah Washington can help to promote a relatively unknown business destination like Sierra Leone. Business, in return, creates employment opportunities and leads to sustainable economic development," Hayes concluded.

"I'm obligated in my own mind and through my own conviction to go back to a country of people who have no idea who I am and help them, because I can," Washington said.

A genetic testing in 2005 traced Washington's maternal lineage to the Mendé people of Sierra Leone.  Washington will remain in Sierra Leone after the trade mission to film a documentary to be aired on ABC after his return.  The documentary will follow Washington on his personal and political journey to explore the past, present and future of his people.

CCA, established in 1993, is a nonpartisan 501(3)(c) membership organization of nearly 200 U.S. companies dedicated to strengthening the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Africa. CCA members represent nearly 85 percent of total U.S. private sector investments in Africa. Visit CCA's website at www.africacncl.org.

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