WEST OAK LANE >> Working individuals and families are always looking for a way to not only make ends meet but to make money to help their families thrive.

That is why some are looking to pool their resources within their own community or even look for money-making models from abroad. This was certainly the case when a diverse group of Northwest Philadelphians gathered on a recent Saturday morning in a local house of worship.

The “Making Money in Ghana, West Africa” session was held at the Masjidullah Community Room, 7401 Limekiln Pike in West Oak Lane, Saturday, April 14. The morning session featured guest speaker Akbar Muhammad. The panel discussion was led by Stan Slaughter of the Center for Global Education, and among those on hand were Maimouna Dia, the executive director of the Philadelphia Juneteenth Musicfest & Parade to be hosted with the City of Philadelphia.

“This was a great program,” said Kiniaya Sharrieff, who formerly lived in Northwest Philadelphia before moving to Norristown. “I actually lived in Ghana for about seven to eight years. I loved it there and learned about a lot about their culture. I still go back.

“What I learned was how they do business there. Everything said here about doing business [abroad] was true. I wish more would think about doing business abroad.

“We all need to be empowered to start our own business; that is an option to working for others. It can be empowering to own a [local] business. But we also have the option to do business beyond the United States. We should consider this,” Sharrieff said.

Dr. Samuel Quartey, a native of Ghana, agreed. He said it was important to support those who support you. He said local people should think of ways they can support local businesses while also thinking globally.

“We have to think about where and how we spend our collars. We should try to keep our dollars in our community,” Quartey said.

Bayinah Ali said local entrepreneurs should sell locally but consider doing business globally, too. She said many abroad like to have American products and services. She said there should be no barrier to doing business with Africa. She insisted that many are willing to take products from places like Northwest Philadelphia.

“I think it is important to travel,” Ali said. “I just got back from Ghana. It looks so different from even when I was there in 2006. There are so many different malls there. They have everything we have here — cars, motorcycles, nice homes. They are doing well economically because you see all the malls. That’s how we have to think when doing business, that we can do business with Ghana.”

Gloria Dulan Wilson, a representative from the Mayor’s Commission on Africa and the Caribbean, spoke about the importance of travel and tourism as well as local businesses doing business abroad. She said her office is playing a pivotal role in coordinating the upcoming Philadelphia Juneteenth Musicfest & Parade in June. Though the finale of the program will be on Penn’s Landing, there will be programs going on throughout the city.

Slaughter said Ghana is one of the 55 countries on the African continent. He said 44 of them have formed the African Union.

“This is like the European Union with most of the countries in Europe ... but with African countries. We should realize that there is market for us there,” Slaughter said.

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