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Some members of the AfricanTide Union e.V. Far left is Dr RosaLyn Dressman / Photo: ATU

AfricanTide Union hosts Africa Day in Dortmund 

“We need a day to discuss the problems that we don’t usually talk about,” said Dr RosaLyn Dressman, the chairperson of AfricanTide Union, a non-governmental organisation based in the western German city of Dortmund. These are the issues that will be discussed during the activities marking this year’s Africa Day in Dortmund on 25-27 May.

Dr RosaLyn Dressman, a sociologist and development expert, is referring to issues such as the paradox of an Africa rich in important mineral resources but full of poor people, the slow pace of development in the continent and also the future of young people of African origin in Germany.

These issues are what will be discussed at the annual Africa Day, which the organisation is hosting for the seventh time this year in Dortmund. The Day, which commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (now African Union) in Addis Ababa on 25 May 1963, is marked both in Africa and its Diaspora communities across the globe.

From 25-27 May in Dortmund, several events will be held, under the theme “Agenda 2030: Sustainable Development Goals”, to discuss the issues highlighted above.

A major objective of the 3-day congress is to beam the searchlight on the causes of migration of young people from African countries, who seek refuge in Europe. Dressman believes that the push factors of migration are mainly lack of gainful employment, health care services, education and hunger.

An empowerment workshop for young people of African descent in Germany is one of the activities marking this year’s Africa Day in Dortmund / Photo: ATU

The development activist is of the opinion that Africans living in Germany should be concerned about the problems confronting Africa. “We are calling on all Africans to participate because even though we live in Germany we do care about the situation in Africa,” she added.

The Africa Day Dortmund also aims to help young people of African origin in Germany to find a healthy balance between the need to be well integrated here and at the same time maintain their African identity.

African and Afro-German children and young people are often discriminated against and belong to a population group in Germany which defines itself by a common feature, a darker skin.

A workshop, “Future for (young) Africans in Germany”, for participants between the ages of 15 and 25 years, will take place as part of activities of the Africa Day Dortmund.

With creative methods (e.g., roller games, sketches), the empowerment workshop will teach young people how to assert their identity and defend themselves against racism and inspire them to develop ideas for a fulfilling life in a multicultural society.

“The African origin is not to be understood as a stain, but should contribute to a positive identity and consciousness formation,” said Dressman.

The programme of African Day 2017 consists of activities which will take place over three days. The workshop for young people of African origin in Germany is slated for Thursday, 25 May.

On Friday, 26 May, the focus will be on sustainable development goals. The United Nations Development Goals are aimed to be achieved in 2030. Is there still hope that these lofty goals could still be achieved in Africa or are they condemned to failure?

Mining copper at the Luanshya Copper Mines in Zambia. Despite the continent’s enormous mineral wealth, most Africans remain poor. Africa Day Dortmund will feature discussions about the place of Africa in the global capitalist system / Photo: IFI

An analysis of the current situation already shows clearly that these can only be achieved with difficulty, if at all. What is the German development co-operation doing and how can the African Diaspora contribute to the realisation of these goals? What does development co-operation really mean?

These are the issues that will be intensively discussed by ambassadors of African countries accredited to Germany, members of the German federal parliament and scholars in Dortmund, and of course, the general audience of participants.

On the third day (Saturday, 27 May), the topic of discussion will be Africapitalism, about the place of Africa in the global capitalist system. “A very uncomfortable subject,” said Dressman. The more important it’s to talk about the issue on an occasion like the Africa Day, she added.

Africa is rich in mineral resources but their exploitation has not brought development to the continent. This has resulted in the paradox of a booming economy with poor citizens. What are the opportunities for an independent capitalist development in Africa? “With this event, we want to provide a sound overview of the position of Africa in global capitalism,” Dressman said.

Among those expected to talk about the issue are entrepreneurs, politicians, diplomats and scholars who will provide their perspectives and exchange ideas and experiences.

“It’s when we all sit together at the table that solutions can be found to all these problems,” Dressman said. “We want durable solutions and not short-term interim solutions,” she concluded.

Femi Awoniyi

Attendance Information:

Day 1: Thursday, 25 May 2017

Topic: “The future for young Africans in Germany”

Time: 10 am – 4 pm

Venue: AfricanTide Headquarters, Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 20, 44135 Dortmund

Day 2: Friday, 26 May 2017

Topic: “The new objectives of sustainable development”

Time: 10 am – 5 pm

Venue: Lensing-Carrée Conference Center: Medienhaus Lensing, Silberstraße 21, 44137 Dortmund

Day 3: Saturday, 27 May 2017

Topic: “Africapitalism”

Time: 10 am – 5 pm

Venue: Lensing-Carrée Conference Center: Medienhaus Lensing, Silberstraße 21, 44137 Dortmund

More about Africa Day 2017 Dortmund at: http://www.africantide.com

About AfricanTide Union

AfricanTide Union e.V. was founded in 2010 to promote the integration of migrants, especially from the African continent, and to make a lasting contribution to intercultural understanding and mutual respect in Germany.

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