Rosa Whitaker

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Rosa Whitaker
Alma materAmerican University, Washington, D.C.
OccupationCEO and President of the Whitaker Group
Spouse(s)Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams (m. 2008)

Rosa Whitaker is president and CEO of The Whitaker Group (TWG).

TWG, which she founded 2003, is a transaction advisory, investment facilitation and project development firm specializing in Africa with offices in Washington DC and Accra, Ghana.[1]

As the first ever Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa, Whitaker served in the administrations of Presidents William J. Clinton and George W. Bush and played a leading role in the development, passage, implementation and extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. AGOA grants virtually all African products duty free access to the US market and continues to be the cornerstone of US economic engagement with Africa.


USTR, Capitol Hill and State Department[edit]

Whitaker started the United States Trade Representative's Office of African Affairs and was the lead U.S. negotiator for trade agreements with African countries. Under her leadership, the US undertook a string of initiatives to enhance American trade, investment and economic cooperation with African countries.[2]

On the 10th anniversary of AGOA's passage, the then US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, said: "Of course, we owe special thanks to Rosa Whitaker, the “Mother of AGOA.” Rosa was among those who created the concept of AGOA, nursed it through ups and downs in Congress, and was the leading US Government figure in translating AGOA from law to successful program." [3]

Before joining USTR, Whitaker was Senior Trade Adviser to Congressman Charles Rangel, the legendary "Lion of Harlem", who would go on to chair the House Ways and Means Committee. She advised Rangel on issues related to the WTO and trade with China as well as Africa.

Whitaker joined Rangel's staff from the State Department. As a career foreign service officer, she was posted to the US embassy in Cote d'Ivoire and served in the Office of International Energy Policy.

Whitaker began her career in trade and economic diplomacy as Executive Director of the Washington DC Office of International Business.

The Whitaker Group[edit]

Whitaker launched The Whitaker Group after leaving USTR in 2003. At the outset, her goal was to help companies and governments take full advantage of the opportunities created by AGOA. Clients included the governments of Uganda, Ghana, Lesotho, Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria as well as a number of well-known multinationals. As co-chair with the late Congressman Jack Kemp of the AGOA Action Committee, Whitaker remained in the forefront of efforts to strengthen AGOA.

In 2006 Whitaker added health to TWG's portfolio.

Since 2013, TWG has increasingly focused on mobilizing global finance and developers to expand infrastructure in Africa under its "We Build You Grow" initiative. As of 2014, TWG had helped develop $7 billion in infrastructure projects in the continent. Also in 2014, Whitaker announced plans for a Technology Fund to invest in African start-ups.



Whitaker was born in Washington, D.C. and holds Master’s and bachelor's degrees from American University in Washington, D.C. and studied in the United Kingdom and Italy as well as at the Foreign Service Institute.

Thought Leadership[edit]

Whitaker appears frequently on the public speaking circuit and has lectured at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the National Defense University. She is a guest columnist for,[4] and has had opinion pieces published in a variety of publications including the Wall Street Journal[5] and The Hill[6] She is a widely sought-after expert on business, trade and investment in Africa in a variety of venues and has been a guest on broadcasts on ABC News,[7] CNN,[8] the BBC[9] and Bloomberg.[10]

Personal life[edit]

In April 2008, Whitaker married Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, overseer of Christian Action Faith Ministries Worldwide. In 2014, Whitaker and Duncan-Williams were named one of Africa's "Power Couples".[11]

Board memberships[edit]

Whitaker is a Vice Chair of the Executive Board of Mercy Ships,[12] a global faith-based charity operating the world’s largest private hospital ship providing medical care to the poorest of the poor in Africa. She also serves as Vice Chair of US Board of Invest Africa and is a member of the Bloomberg Breakaway Network. Previously, Ms. Whitaker served on the Board of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), an organization working to strengthen democracy around the world through private enterprise and market-oriented reform; she also served as Vice Chair of the US-South Africa Business Council.


  • Face2Face Africa Africa Trailblazer Award (2016)[13]
  • "Rosa Whitaker Day" proclaimed by Rep. Charles Rangel, July 9, 2016[14]
  • Africa Economic Builders Award (2014)[15]
  • Top 100 Global Thinkers, Foreign Policy (2010)[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Whitaker Group". The Whitaker Group. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  2. ^ "USTR - United States and West African Nations Sign Agreement Promoting Trade". Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  3. ^ "Remarks by Ambassador Ron Kirk at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of AGOA | United States Trade Representative". Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2014
  6. ^ Rosa, Whitaker (February 13, 2017). "Make America Great Again in Africa".
  7. ^ "Rosa Whitaker featured in ABC News - The Whitaker Group". The Whitaker Group. 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  8. ^ "CNN Face Time - The Whitaker Group". The Whitaker Group. 2014-08-15. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  9. ^ "BBC NEWS | Business | Africa tackles trade dilemmas". Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  10. ^ "Outlook for US-Africa Summit - The Whitaker Group". The Whitaker Group. 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  11. ^ "Africa's Top Power Couples -". Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  12. ^ "Mercy Ships | Board". Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  13. ^ "Meet Rosa Whitaker: 2016 FACE List Awards Honoree". Face2face Africa. 2016-06-22. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  14. ^ "Rep. Rangel Proclaims Rosa Whitaker Day - The Whitaker Group". The Whitaker Group. 2016-08-11. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  15. ^ "African Economic Builders". Africa Economy Builders. 2015-09-28. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  16. ^ "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2017-04-27.

External links[edit]