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As President and CEO of the Global Black Economic Forum, Alphonso David knows what it takes to bring people together for a common goal.

At the 2023 Essence Festival in New Orleans, he did just that — and more. The Black Wall Street Times spoke with David onsite to learn more about the expansive network being built by GBEF.

“Essence is a key part of what we do. Essence is the largest convening of Black people in the United States ever year, says David. “We have an opportunity to reach millions in person and billions virtually. I don’t think we could have the same amount of impact that we’re having now without the power of Essence.”

With not only the spirit of unity, but full intentionality behind it, SoLo funds and Global Black Economic Forum released a 2023 Cash Poor Report, calling for Congress and state regulators to end junk fees in borrowing, and adopt total cost rate over annual percentage rates.

“At the Global Black Economic Forum, we push everyone to take action,” affirmed David.

“It is not simply convening as a group to talk about the issues affecting us — we have to be driven by solutions and action,” says Alphonso David.

The Global Black Economic Forum also joined Beacon of Hope to collaboratively address economic inequities across the globe.

David continued, “What I want to do each year is go back to ‘what did we talk about last year? What have we achieved since then?’ We need to make sure there is a level of accountability for not only us but the attendees. You have a responsibility to affect meaningful change in the lives of marginalized communities.”

The Global Black Economic Forum and the Academy for Advancing Excellence announced the launch of the E-Suite App, The Academy for Advancing Excellence and Global Black Economic Forum later announced The Board Accelerator: a program to develop the next generation of Black Women boardroom leaders.

“The concept of DEI is under attack, some groups would suggest it no only exists but in name only. We’re seeing the Supreme Court say that colleges and universities no longer have to consider race in their admissions process. That’s going to have a collateral impact on employment,” said David.

“If we were to collectively come together in marginalized communities, it’s not about GBEF doing it ourselves but us reaching out to others to build through strategic action.”

The Global Black Economic Forum also announced a $300,000 investment in the Amujae Initiative, the Flagship Program of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center. 

Regarding the investment, David stated, “We did that because we understand that we’re going to amplify and elevate their work and the impact they’re seeking to have.”

David elaborated, “We need to change how people perceive us. Once we do that, we also change our ability to impact the world. That’s a huge part of what I want to do.”

“We have to take up to see what’s happening. Once we wake up, we have to mobilize and act,” declared David. “That is the core of the Global Black Economic Forum. We don’t have to do it alone, but we have do it.”

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...

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