- President, U.S.-Africa Business Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Kendra L. Gaither is President of the U.S.-Africa Business Center. She joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2015, bringing a wealth of solutions-oriented global public policy expertise to this role. In addition to providing policy analysis and advocacy support to the private sector regarding trade policy issues across East and Southern Africa, she serves as the Executive Director for the U.S.-South Africa Business Council. Gaither also directs the Chamber’s Coalition for the Rule of Law in Global Markets, which publishes a Global Business Rule of Law Dashboard to bring more attention to the issue from the private sector perspective. She joined the Chamber from Carnegie Mellon University, where she was a global initiatives adviser in the College of Engineering and Executive Director of the Center for International Policy and Innovation. During her tenure at the university, she supported the establishment of the Carnegie Mellon University graduate campus in Kigali.
An alumna of the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, Gaither began her career in international affairs at the U.S. Department of State. There she spent more than 10 years as a career diplomat and civil servant specializing in international economic and trade issues in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her overseas Foreign Service assignments include postings at the U.S. embassies in Peru and Mexico. Domestically, she held positions in the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs, including as an economic officer on the South Africa Desk, a coordinator for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum and as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary.
Gaither holds a B.S. in economics from North Carolina A&T State University, as well as an M.A. in international affairs and an M.B.A. in international business finance from The George Washington University. She is a member of the Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) and a career mentor and volunteer with The Jackie Robinson Foundation.