Participants at the two-day Global African Diaspora Symposium (GADS), which took place on 27-28 April in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja, called for practical steps to drive an effective engagement between Africa and its Diaspora/Photo: Mu’azu Jaji Sambo

Abuja conference outlines strategies for Diaspora engagement for African development

A 31-point communiqué released at the end of the two-day Global African Diaspora Symposium (GADS), which took place on 27-28 April in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja, details practical steps to drive an effective engagement between Africa and its Diaspora.

The Communiqué, presented by the Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the event, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, said the African Diaspora Alliance experts should be encouraged to partner with the Ministries of Health in all African countries to deepen cost-effective healthcare delivery, and drive digital technology and investment in capacity building in the healthcare sector.

It was agreed that full legal backing and strong policies that cater to the African Diaspora should be enacted and implemented. Also, the African Diaspora groups should network with relevant Chambers of Commerce worldwide to create interest in investment in Africa.

Ugochi Daniels, Deputy Director General, Operations, at the International Organisation for Migration, speaking at the Global African Diaspora Symposium/Photo: IOM Nigeria

Also, African governments should provide an ease of doing business for local entrepreneurs and foreign investors for a seamless and profitable business ecosystem. She equally stated that the Diaspora should support ICT development including digitisation of jobs, investor-networking, business-to-business (B2B) mediation, e-learning, exchange visits, partnering in SME development using digital platforms across sectors and industries in Africa.

In addition, it was noted that Agriculture should be encouraged by shifting the mind-set of many to see the viable prospects in agribusiness. The Diaspora who are experts in Agriculture, were therefore called upon to proffer solutions and create ideas to rebrand Agricultural practice in Africa.

The Communiqué stressed the need for easy mobility within and outside the Continent for Diasporas, as it stands as the sixth region in the continent.

Ambassador Abbey Walusimbi, Ugandan Ambassador at Large & Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs (right) at the conference/Photo: Ambassador Abbey Walusimbi

Furthermore, the Communiqué established that a Diaspora Centre of Excellence in Abuja, Nigeria, should be encouraged and supported in order to ensure it takes off on solid footing. Mrs Odusote said African governments should employ key incentives that will stimulate the interest of more Diasporas in Africa’s development process.

Another point raised in the Communiqué is that an insurance policy should be created to protect finances, businesses and investments of the Diasporas, back home, to boost business growth and development.

Also, African countries should provide assurances for investments through securitization of remittances by use of security documents such as Diaspora specific bonds which will serve as a cheap source of financing for development. It was made known through the Communiqué that governments in all African states should facilitate easy interface between local and foreign banks to ease the transfer and opening of accounts by Diasporas.

Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, Minister of Transportation(right), and Dr Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, at the event/Photo: Mu’azu Jaji Sambo

The Communiqué called for proper funding and attention towards innovation, research, sustainable energy, as well as, education in the continent. The report encouraged diversity and all inclusiveness such as gender mainstreaming and equality, in Diaspora projects and positions to fill in.

Furthermore, the LOC Chairman suggested that the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) serve as a clearing house and as a de-risking entity for Diaspora while it called on all regional fora like the African Union (AU), NIDCOM, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to collaborate with credible Diaspora groups such as the African Diaspora Alliance (AfDA) to enable their smooth assimilation into Africa’s development process.

Again, the report requested a cooperation framework of all interested participating institutions in collaboration with AfDA, DTCA, NIDCOM, IOM and the OACPS within the next one year preparatory to the next 2025. In conclusion, the Communique pushed that GADS should be adopted by the African Union and institutionalised as a biennial Diaspora Summit to develop mechanisms for the actualisation of the aspirations, goals and priorities of the Africa Agenda 2063.

Gabriel Odu

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