OTI Roundtable on Doing Business in Africa

On Tuesday, July 25, the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment (OTI) hosted a panel discussion on exporting goods to Africa. The “Roundtable on Doing Business in Africa” collaborated with various industry leaders who shared their insight, experience, and advice. By participating in the roundtable discussion, businesses gained collective insight of exporting to Africa. The panel shared knowledge on best practices, regulations, and potential market opportunities, to better position themselves when trying to achieve maximum benefits from their export activities.


The Office of Trade & Investment opens international markets for Illinois companies. OTI strives to raise Illinois’ profile as a global business leader through a network of professionals. Their export assistance opportunities include customized B2B matchmaking, trade show logistics support, and the promotion of Illinois products and services to foreign customers to name a few.


Gene Spahija and Mohammad Farahmand with guests at the Women Deliver


MedGyn’s Vice President of Global Sales, Gene Spahija, was a featured speaker on this informative panel discussion. Gene provided feedback regarding the recent conference, Women Deliver, that MedGyn attended in Kigali, Rwanda. “Rwanda was a great surprise. There were 6,000 delegates from all over the world attending this conference,” he said. Gene also explained, “that there is great potential for business in this continent.” Sam Ntum, Senior International Trade Specialist – Africa and Middle east, who moderated the roundtable discussion, emphasized that many of the growing economies in the world in recent years have been African. Sectors of focus include infrastructure, healthcare, manufacturing, consumer products to name a few. Moreover, Sam explained that Illinois’ top 3 export markets to Africa are South Africa, Egypt, and Ghana. Some of the top export industries include industrial machinery, vehicles, and medical and surgical equipment. With an estimated population of 1.2 billion people, half of whom will be under 25 years old by 2050, the future of the export market has huge potential. Incomes are rising across much of the continent, generating new business opportunities in the consumer market. Additionally, the countries with the greatest opportunities for the medical devices and equipment segment of the market include Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, and Uganda.


Gene Spahija, who has decades of experience in the medical device manufacturing industry, is focused on the accessibility of MedGyn’s products worldwide. He has traveled to over 50 countries with a particular focus on developing MedGyn’s cervical cancer prevention line, in addition to MedGyn’s other therapies. Internationally, MedGyn’s MTA-100 Thermal Ablation System and Cryotherapy System are both used for the treatment of precancerous lesions, for example. Gene has been instrumental in developing partnerships with distributors and NGOs. During the roundtable discussion, Gene offered insight into doing business abroad, specifically in Africa. “These conferences allow us to partner with NGO’s, which is very important when expanding your market,” he explained. “If I were to offer advice to other organizations who plan to do business internationally, I would suggest making certain all compliance regulations are met, “he stated. “Also, OTI is a valuable partner to MedGyn,” Gene added. “Our first partnership with OTI was 8 years ago when we first attended the Africa Health Conference,” he explained.


Gene Spahija and Mohammad Farahmand at the Women Deliver 2023 Conference in Rwanda


MedGyn’s vision has and will always be to drive innovation to improve the quality of health for women worldwide.


(Resources: Illinois Office of Trade and Investment, Illinois Department of Commerce)