Black History Festival concludes 2024 edition in Ohio, US

Photo: High Level Panel at the Africa Americas Trade and Development Forum of the BHF 2024. L to R: Hannah Awuku (Moderator), Mr. Yofi Grant (CEO, GIPC), Dr. Olivier Kamanzi (CEO, Africa Global Chamber of Commerce, USA), Mr. Lefanste (General Manager, Research, Brand SA) and Dr Obeng Nti (Director, Ministry of National Security of Ghana) / © Black History Festival

The Black History Festival concluded its 2024 edition (BHF ’24) in Columbus, Ohio in the United States (US). It was hosted under the theme, “The Africa We Want in a Global Setup – Rebuilding Trans-Atlantic Trade Ties for the Socio-economic and Cultural Advancement of the Peoples of Africa and the Americas.” 

The festival took place at the Columbus Marriot Airport from February 22 – 24 in honour of Black History Month, which is observed annually by the US Federal Government. It’s also in line with the UN General Assembly’s resolution 68/237, which proclaimed 2015 – 2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent. 

Hundreds of participants, exhibitors, and over 50 speakers from Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Tanzania, Senegal, Mauritania, the US and other African nations as well as people from the Americas attended the three-day event.

BHF ’24 focused on technology, innovation, history, culture, and trade. The event promoted bilateral ties between governments, businesses, and civil society of America, the Caribbean, and Africa. 


Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), African Union Mission to the United States, and representations from the governments of Ghana, South Africa, and St. Lucia co-hosted the 2024 edition.

Ghana Maritime Authority, KGL Group, National Lottery Authority, and M&C Group Global also provided support for the festival, which was spearheaded by BIDEC (Bureau for International Development, Exchanges and Commerce).

Founder of the Black History Festival, Stephen Selasie Asuo with the Executive Chairman of the KGL Group at the Black History Makers Awards Gala Night 2024 in Columbus, Ohio / © Black History Festival.

Additional organisations included the Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce, Colour Coded Lab, AfrExim Bank, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Ghana Tourism Authority, One Voice Consortium, Africa Global Chamber of Commerce, Brand South Africa, and the Office of the President of Ghana’s Diaspora Affairs.


Michael B. Coleman, the 52nd mayor of Columbus, Ohio; Frank Whitfield, the former mayor of Elyria, Ohio; Hon. Dr. Dadicus Jules Okechukwu Ihejirika, the director general of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States; Ag. Chief Operating Officer, Caribbean Office, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank); and Mr. Alex Apau Dadey, executive chairman of the KGL Group of Ghana, were among the recognised speakers.

The others are Mr. Yofi Grant, CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre; Mr. Lefentse Nokaneng, General Manager, Research; Mr. Jimmy Ranamane, General Manager, Global Markets; Mr. Luvuyi Manyi, CEO of YIB Solutions, South Africa; Mr. Thato Molamu, CEO of Leaders in Motion Academy; and Benjamin Anane-Nsiah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority.

The list of speakers also include Dr. Obeng Nti, Director of the Ministry of National Security; Ishmael Tetteh, Managing Director of Flexohub Limited; Doug McCollough, CEO of Colour Coded Labs and Co-founder of Black Tech Columbus, Ohio; and President of the Africa Global Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Olivier Kamanzi.

Awards gala

The founder and president of BIDEC and the Black History Festivals, Stephen Selasie Asuo, emphasised the significance of updating old stereotypes about Africa during the Gala Night. He highlighted Africa’s Renaissance, pointing to instances like Ghana’s democracy, Rwanda’s advancement, Liberia’s rehabilitation efforts, and the popularity of Afrobeat music around the world. 

With its celebration of numerous unsung heroes, leaders, and cultural icons, the new narrative embodies the idea of “Africa Rising and Black Renaissance.”

L to R: Top – Stephen Selasie Asuo (Founder/Executive Coordinator, BHF), Mr Lefanste (General Manager Research, Brand SA), Dr. Olivier Kamanzi (CEO, Africa Global Chamber of Commerce), Mr. Yofi Grant (CEO, GIPC), Dr. Robert Chiuri (Chairman, One Voice Consortium). Seated: Ms. Shanita Scotland (Rep, OECS), Mr. Alex Dadey (Executive Chairman, KGL Group), Rev King (Rep of the Rev Dr. King Family), Representative of Congresswoman Beatty, Representative of Mayor Michael Coleman) at the Black History Makers Awards Gala Night 2024 / © Black History Festival.

The festival included high-level presentations, thought-provoking B2B workshops, informative product and service exhibits, and lively debates. On February 24, at the Columbus Marriot Airport, BHF  concluded in the coveted Black History Makers Awards Gala Night.

The Black History Makers Awards, which are an essential part of the yearly Black History Festival, honoured brilliance in Africa and the global diaspora and seek to identify exceptional Black people in a range of fields, such as technology, the arts, politics, and business.

Star prize winners

Award categories cover a wide range of industries, with star prize winners coming from the Americas and Africa. The President of Ghana and survivors of the Black Wall Street massacre were honoured in the 2023 edition, highlighting the legacy of Black brilliance and laying the groundwork for a better future.

Cross section of Officials and Speakers at the Technology and Innovation Day of the BHF 2024 at the Columbus Marriot Airport in Ohio / © Black History Festival.

About forty community leaders from the Midwest of the United States were also honoured at the event for their significant contributions to the Black community and individuals of African origin. The honouring of the Star Prize Winners, notable individuals from the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean, was the high point of the awards event.

Among them were Hon. Dr. Dadicus Jules for his commitment to social justice, education reform, and cultural preservation; Mr. Alex Dadey, Executive Chairman of the KGL Group, for encouraging diaspora investment in Africa; Congresswoman Joyce Beatty for her support of fair and moral governance in Ohio and the US; and Mr. Michael B. Coleman, the former mayor of Columbus, for his contributions to the city.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Marcus Mosiah Garvey were also awarded posthumous honours for their contributions to activism, leadership, and policy orientations.


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