August 3, 2010

A large delegation of African business women leaders and ministers are visiting Kansas City, Mo. to learn about potential business partnerships between the United States and Africa. The State Department and The Corporate Council on Africa selected Kansas City to highlight the American heartland, with a particular focus on expanding agri-business and the food sector and service industries. Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn will host the event. The keynote speaker is African Union Commission Deputy Chairman Erastus Mwencha.

The Kansas City law firm Polsinelli Shughart PC is hosting the delegation at a luncheon Aug. 5 at the Kansas City Marriott Muehlbach Hotel, 12th & Wyandotte Streets, SE Corner, Kansas City, Mo. from 12:00 pm – 1:45 pm. The media is invited to attend.

“Increasingly, we are living in a global marketplace and activities and developments abroad affect life here in Kansas City,” said Polsinelli Shughart Chairman Russ Welsh. “While we are headquartered in Kansas City, our law firm has a global vision for business and relationships which includes our affiliations with international legal networks, Multilaw and Mackrell, which provide our clients with attorney connections throughout the world.”

This is the first time the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) has been held outside Washington, D.C. President Bill Clinton signed into law The African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) May 18, 2000 to expand U.S./sub-Saharan African trade and investment, stimulate economic growth, promote a high-level dialogue on trade and investment-related issues, encourage economic integration and facilitate sub-Saharan Africa’s integration into the local economy. President Barack Obama has said African women are “part of the world, not a world apart,” and Polsinelli Shughart Shareholder Anita Estell echoes that sentiment and shows her commitment to the cause by serving as a board member of The Corporate Council on Africa.

“Africa is the last unexplored frontier. The Chinese and the Europeans have recognized the value of Africa for hundreds of years,” said Estell, who is a member of the Public Policy – National practice in Washington, D.C. “They have vast resources in terms of human talent and commodities and can provide American businesses with significant opportunities. They need our skills and technologies and we need theirs.”

Estell says Polsinelli Shughart is visionary and responsive in a time of great change shaped by global dynamics. Estell has visited Africa as part of a delegation with President Bill Clinton in the mid 1990’s, and was a presenter at the International World Conference on HIV/Aids in Durbin, South Africa.

“We are coming full circle as a people on the planet Earth and embracing our similarities,” said Estell. “There is a recognition that we are all in this together and we have to reach beyond that which is familiar to establish the foundations.”

For the media

The media is invited to attend the luncheon and interview the women and ministers. Interpreters are available for our non-English speaking guests.

Potential stories include:

• Human interest stories about women business leaders in Africa
• Need for partnerships between United States and Africa
• Kansas City businesses currently conducting business with Africa
• Interview Anita Estell, prominent African-American partner in national law firm and law firm’s role in AWEP
• B-Roll opportunities include touring the Roasterie at 2 p.m. immediately following the luncheon. The Roasterie is currently importing African coffee.
• Law firm PR team can assist with connections to members of The State Department and The Corporate Counsel on Africa

For information contact Public Relations Manager Heather McMichael, 816-395-0618,

About Anita Estell

Anita R. Estell is a pioneer in the Washington, D.C. lobbying community and is considered to be one of the city's outstanding lobbyists. She quickly earned a reputation as a strategist whose achievements are marked by innovative, measurable and sustainable results after making history as the first African American woman to become a principal at a major independent lobbying firm in 1993. She earned her law and journalism degrees from the University of Missouri. For a full bio, go to

About Polsinelli Shughart PC
With more than 500 attorneys, Polsinelli Shughart PC ( is a national law firm that is a recognized leader in the areas of business litigation, financial services, real estate, business law, construction, life sciences, environmental and natural resources, health care, insurance coverage/bad faith, and labor and employment. Serving corporate, institutional and individual clients regionally, nationally and worldwide, Polsinelli Shughart is known for successfully applying forward-thinking strategies for both straightforward and complex legal matters. The firm has 16 offices located in Kansas City, St. Louis, Phoenix, Chicago, Denver, Washington, New York, Wilmington, Overland Park, St. Joseph, Springfield, Jefferson City, Topeka and Edwardsville.