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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. – In anticipation for future demand, growth in the Middle East and North Africa region, the U.S. Grains Council is increasing its presence in by adding two new consultants. 

Shakeb Elahi
Shakeb Elahi joined the USGC in September and will be working to expand the sales portfolio of U.S. exports to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Pakistan. Elahi is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

He previously was a trade servicing consultant for the USGC in Pakistan from 1999 to 2000. During that time, he worked with the government of Pakistan to reduce import duties and open the market for U.S. feed grains. He also organized feeding trials for U.S. corn and published an overview of feed formulations and requirements for the livestock and poultry sectors in Pakistan. 

He studied geology at the University of Karachi before entering the grains industry. 

Jad Wakileh
Jad Wakileh joined the USGC as a consultant in Jordan on Oct. 1 to support ongoing programs organized by the council’s regional office in Tunis, Tunisia. 

Wakileh previously worked as the business development manager for Aqaba Vegetable Oils Co., a Jordan-based business that manufactures and refines vegetable oils. He received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from the University of California-Los Angeles. 

Although based in Jordan, Wakileh will serve in a regional capacity to address U.S. grain marketing opportunities throughout the Middle East region seeking to connect U.S. exporters to regional importers and to address trade restrictions as they arise. 

“Given the size of our region, having council representatives who can respond quickly to trade issues is vital,” said Ramy Hadj Taieb, USGC regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “With Wakileh and Elahi in place, the council is positioned to be even more effective in marketing and market development activities.”

The new consultants are the latest addition to the USGC’s expanding staff.

In September, the USGC added several new staff members in its Washington, D.C., U.S.-based office plus some of its overseas offices due to areas of growing demand.

Candice Wilson
Candice Wilson joins the USGC as a graduate fellow in economics and ethanol. In this role, she will work with other USGC staff on a variety of economic analysis projects ranging from ethanol research to analysis of global supply and demand for coarse grains and products.

Catalina Correa
Catalina Correa is the new regional marketing specialist for the Western Hemisphere, based in Medellin, Colombia. In this role, Correa provides additional depth and support to the council’s ongoing marketing programs in the region with a focus on Central America.

Mohamed Salah Bouthour 
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Mohamed Salah Bouthour joined the USGC as the regional marketing specialist in the Tunis, Tunisia, office. In this role, he will support council activities in the changing markets of the Middle East and North Africa.

Yantian Zeng
And on the other side of the globe, Yantian Zeng is the new program manager in the USGC’s office in Beijing, China. In this role, Zeng will manage the council’s trade and policy programs in China and assist with government relations and ethanol programming.