African Diaspora: African diaspora’s unique role in shaping Africa’s future

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  • The African diaspora is a diverse group, with communities found in countries all over the world, including the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
  • The African diaspora can contribute to Africa’s GDP and development through investment, remittances, and the transfer of skills and knowledge.
  • Diaspora investments also add significant value to African enterprise. The World Bank records over US$80 billion sent to and within Africa in 2020.

The African diaspora, the dispersal of people of African descent throughout the world, has had a significant impact on both Africa and the African diaspora communities. The transatlantic slave trade, colonialism, and other historical events have led to the dispersal of millions of people of African descent throughout the world. The experiences of people of Africans in diaspora communities have been shaped by these historical events and continue to be felt today.

The African diaspora is a diverse group, with communities found in countries all over the world, including the Americas, Europe, and Asia. According to the African Union, there are an estimated 150 million people of African descent living outside of Africa. These diaspora communities have made significant economic, social, and political contributions to their host countries. For example, the African diaspora in the United States has had a significant impact on American society and culture, including the Civil Rights Movement.

The diaspora has the potential to make significant contributions to the continent’s development. The African diaspora can contribute to Africa’s GDP and development through investment, remittances, and the transfer of skills and knowledge.

The African diaspora has significant financial resources and can invest in various sectors such as real estate, infrastructure, and small and medium-sized enterprises. These investments can create jobs and stimulate economic growth, ultimately leading to an increase in GDP.

Personal remittances, received (current US$) – Sub-Saharan Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Arab Rep., Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Mauritius in 2021. [Photo/ World Bank]
Remittances, or the transfer of money from diaspora members to their countries of origin, are another way in which the African diaspora can contribute to Africa’s development.

The World Bank estimates Africans in the diaspora save about US$53 billion per year and, in 2020, recorded remittances reached over US$80 billion sent to and within Africa. These figures reflect the magnitude by which Africans in the diaspora are participating in the continent’s economic development. The latent potential of the African diaspora community to mobilise greater human and capital assets in support of their home communities in Africa is also evident.

Read: How rest of Africa can learn from Ghana in attracting diaspora remittances

Dorothy McAuliffe, Special Representative for Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State said, “The importance of remittances cannot be overstated or ignored. Remittances from the African Diaspora increased by 6.2 percent in 2021. At this session, it is important for us as stakeholders to look forward, identify the next steps, and take action to make remittances more productive for Africa.”

According to The Africa Report, reducing the burden of sending remittances can maximise the critical flow of financing for development. Policymakers must ensure that remittance service providers can partner with correspondent banks without challenges. Moreover, remittance channels, such as money transfer operators (MTOs), national banks, and telecommunications companies can also serve as avenues to mobilise diaspora investments – through diaspora bonds – and bond financing – through securitisation of future flows of remittances.

The African diaspora can also contribute to Africa’s development through the transfer of skills and knowledge. Many members of the African diaspora have received higher education and have acquired valuable skills and knowledge in fields such as business, technology, and healthcare. Through the transfer of skills and knowledge, the diaspora can contribute to a wide range of sectors, from entrepreneurship and technology to healthcare, education, and investment.

Entrepreneurship is one area where the African diaspora can make a significant impact. Diaspora entrepreneurs can bring new business ideas and models to the continent, as well as access to capital and markets. They can also serve as role models and mentors for aspiring entrepreneurs in Africa, providing valuable guidance and support.

Another area where the African diaspora can contribute is technology. Professionals in the diaspora who work in the technology sector can help bridge the digital divide and support the development of Africa’s ICT infrastructure. They can provide expertise in areas such as software development, data analytics, and cybersecurity, helping to build a more robust and resilient digital ecosystem in Africa.

In the healthcare sector, African diaspora healthcare professionals can provide expertise in areas such as medical education, research, and clinical care. They can help to improve the quality of healthcare services in Africa and support the training of the next generation of healthcare professionals.

Education is another important area where the African diaspora can contribute. Diaspora educators can support the development of educational systems in Africa by sharing best practices and providing training and professional development opportunities. They can also help to promote international collaboration and support the exchange of ideas and knowledge between Africa and the rest of the world.

Investment is yet another area where the African diaspora can play a critical role. Diaspora investors can provide capital for infrastructure projects, small businesses, and real estate development, supporting economic growth and job creation. They can also help to attract foreign investment to Africa, which can support the continent’s economic development.

In addition to these areas, the African diaspora can also contribute to Africa’s development through policy. Diaspora leaders can use their positions of influence to advocate for policies that support Africa’s development, such as trade agreements, foreign aid, and debt relief. They can also raise awareness about Africa’s development challenges and opportunities among their peers in the international community.

Finally, the African diaspora can also contribute to Africa’s development through culture and the arts. Diaspora artists and cultural leaders can help promote Africa’s cultural heritage and contribute to the continent’s creative economy. They can also help to build bridges between Africa and the rest of the world, fostering greater understanding and appreciation of Africa’s rich cultural heritage.

All in all, the African diaspora can play a vital role in the development of Africa, providing valuable skills, knowledge, and resources that can support the continent’s economic, social, and cultural development.

There are many reasons why people from Africa may choose to go to the diaspora. Some may be seeking better economic opportunities, while others may be seeking political asylum or fleeing war or persecution. Still, others may be seeking to further their education or pursue other personal or professional goals. Additionally, there are many African immigrants who go to the diaspora as part of family reunification.

In conclusion, the African diaspora has a unique role to play in shaping Africa’s future. The diaspora can contribute to Africa’s GDP and development through investment, remittances, and the transfer of skills and knowledge. It is important for the African diaspora to continue to connect with their countries of origin and to contribute to Africa’s development through various initiatives and programs.

Read: African diaspora could chart new economic growth path

Albert is a Chemical Technologist and Author. He is passionate about mining, stock market investing, Fintech and Edutech.

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