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he chairman of Zentralrat, Abayomi Bankole, said moving to the federal capital would enable the organisation to work more closely with similar groups, most of which are headquartered in Berlin/Photo: AfricanCourierMedia

Zentralrat – African Central Council moves to Berlin

The Zentralrat der afrikanischen Gemeinde in Deutschland (Central Council of the African Community in Germany or ZAGD) has moved its office to Berlin. The organisation, an umbrella body for African associations in Germany, has been operating from Hanover since its founding in 2012.

The chairman of Zentralrat, Abayomi Bankole, said moving to the federal capital would enable the organisation to work more closely with similar groups, most of which are headquartered in Berlin. The relocation would also make it easier to engage federal ministries and agencies more actively, he added.

Mr Bankole was recently elected into the Federal Board of the Zentralrat, which also includes Yonas Endrias (Secretary) and Akinola Famson (Financial Secretary).

“We represent people of African origin, their families, associations, organisations and initiatives in Germany,” Mr Bankole said, explaining the work of Zentralrat. “We give them a voice by representing their social, cultural, civil, political and economic interests.”

In its quest for the empowerment of people of African descent in Germany, the Zentralrat pursues the increased social participation of people of African origin which is why it’s active in anti-discrimination and anti-racism work, Mr Bankole said.

Moreover, Zentralrat organises seminars, workshops and conferences on issues of importance to its objectives where its members exchange ideas, views and experiences. “This is to enable them learn from each other and collaborate for increased impact,” Mr Bankole said. “We also seek to equip our communities with the tools that enable them to pursue their objectives.”

Since the situation of Africa is of deep concern to its members, the organisation also advocates vigorously for the interest of Africa while working for a better image of the continent, Mr Bankole explained.

“We monitor the policies and actions of government and how these could impact African countries negatively and we make our views known to the government,” Bankole said. “It’s important that the global African diaspora work for equitable economic relations between Africa and the world.”

“The reappraisal of German colonial history in relation to Africa and its consequences is of special interest to Zentralrat as well,” he added.

Zentralrat receives support from the Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge or BAMF) under its structural funding (Strukturförderung) program for migrant organisations in Germany.

Under the scheme, BAMF supports umbrella organisations representing people with a migration background to professionalise their work and build an effective administrative capacity.

On how best Black people in Germany can be empowered in the long term, Mr Bankole said, “We will continue to provide information, advocacy, advice and training through our range of projects and partnership activities to enable people of African descent in Germany find health, safety, prosperity and opportunity to lead fulfilling and happy lives.”

Femi Awoniyi

More about Zentralrat der afrikanischen Gemeinde in Deutschland at: www.zentralrat-afrikagemeinde.de

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