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U.S.-Maghreb Entrepreneurship Conference in Algiers

Public Affairs Section

Omar Abdelaziz Abdelati al-Obeidi, who has been blind since he was 2 years old, opened Libya’s first Internet café for the blind and started the Arab world’s first online library for the blind.

Business leaders and young entrepreneurs from the U.S. and North Africa will develop strategies to promote job creation at the first U.S.-Maghreb Entrepreneurship Conference in Algiers, December 1-2, 2010.

Hosted by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S.-Algeria Business Council, the event will create a platform to discuss business ventures in North Africa and encourage support from both the government and private sector.

The conference will focus on promoting entrepreneurship among youth in North Africa. To achieve this goal, regional American embassies have selected 10 rising entrepreneurs to attend and express their views on how to overcome the challenges facing the region and ways to promote young entrepreneurs that will boost employment and build their futures.

The conference follows the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, held April 2010 in Washington, and will offer delegates an opportunity to reflect on their experiences and share lessons learned. President Obama said “education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century,” and a successful development strategy relies on strong regional partnerships.

The U.S. Department of State will announce the launch of a new public-private sector partnership, the North African Partnership for Economic Opportunity (NAPEO). In cooperation with recently announced Partners for a News Beginning, NAPEO will build links between entrepreneurs and business leaders in the United States, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.

The Algeria conference, with its combination of business talent from the region and the United States, including entrepreneurs of the North African Diaspora, is an ideal launching point for NAPEO.   Not only will the conference promote cross-border business initiatives, it will provide skills training workshops, networking opportunities and a schedule of notable speakers, including president of the Maghreb Young Entrepreneurs Organization, Monia Essaidi, and chairman of the board of the American-Algerian Foundation for Science and Culture, Dr. Elias Zerhouni.

The U.S. State Department assistant secretary for economic, energy, and business affairs, Jose Fernandez, will deliver a keynote address during the conference.

“I am confident that our collaborative work with governments, businesses and civil society organizations across the North Africa region will lead to greater economic prosperity and security for all of us.”

Following the conference, Assistant Secretary Fernandez plans to travel to Tunisia, Libya and Morocco, continuing to promote innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the region.

For more information about the U.S.-Maghreb Entrepreneurship Conference, please visit www.us-algeria.org.