Baron One of Six Alabama Companies to Represent State at Largest Ever U.S.-Led Trade Mission to Africa
On September 14, 2015, Bernard Kirby—Integrated Weather Solutions at Baron—hopped on two back-to-back 11-hour flights to attend the U.S. Department of Commerce-led Trade Winds—Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa. A high-visibility business networking event, Trade Winds—Africa is the largest-ever U.S. government-led trade mission to Africa. Attendees get a chance to meet with government leaders, market experts and business partners with the goal of exploring partnerships and export opportunities throughout the region.
During the 10-day event, Kirby met with U.S. diplomats and embassies in various African countries to make business connections and assess possible solutions to Africa’s growing need for valuable forecast information.
“The overall goal of the event was to help American countries sell into Africa,” said Kirby. “Each day I was able to meet with individual trade representatives from each country and take steps toward gaining connections in various Meteorology Offices throughout Africa. It can be very difficult to get in touch with the key meteorology decision-makers. Trade Winds helped open the door to those contacts.” Doing business in Africa almost always requires a local supporter. For Baron, this means acquiring an agent who can help implement bigger projects that require engineering and maintenance work, among other needs. Gaining contacts in the local Meteorology Offices gives Baron a chance to share possible critical weather solutions that would help increase the safety and weather-awareness of each African country in need.
Finding Forecast Solutions
“My other goal was to determine the situation in each African country—financial and meteorological,” said Kirby. “Weather plays a big part in how they produce power. Botswana is almost exclusively run on hydroelectric power, so forecasting rain is very important. Unfortunately, they are experiencing drought this year and some areas receive only 2-3 hours of electricity each day.” While Botswana is suffering from drought, other countries along the African coast are dealing with severe floods.
“Many people ask why they don’t supply more weather information—there’s a lot of controversy behind it,” said Kirby. “There are ways Baron can greatly improve the situation by providing lower-cost solutions to countries that desperately need forecast information. We can help them prepare for impending floods.”
While the financial condition in each country varies, Baron has several tools that can provide forecasting and emergency response warnings to help those affected by severe flooding. For instance, emergency alerts through Baron’s Safety Net and App Messenger would allow citizens to have advance flood warning and take the necessary steps to prepare. Additionally, Baron can provide access to life-saving forecast data on a daily basis.
Known for Weather Expertise
Alabama trade officials consider South Africa a promising market for growing business and chose Baron to participate in the event. “Baron is a well-known company in Alabama thanks to our weather innovations and expertise,” said Kirby. “We looked like a good fit for the event—and we were.”
For more information on Trade Winds—Africa, click here.
To learn more about Baron’s International Solutions, click here.