Include the Diaspora in development

The high-level Global African Diaspora Summit has resolved to encourage the Diaspora to contribute to African development.

Around 64 current and former Heads of State and Government from the African Union, the Caribbean Community and South and Latin America, and representatives from the Diaspora met in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the weekend for talks on African development.

The summit adopted a set of legacy projects which will strengthen the contribution of the Diaspora to the continent, including a fund that will harness the financial resources of its citizens based in the Diaspora which will be used for the infrastructure development of projects on the continent. 

According to the AU, the continent would require about USD60 billion in the next 10 years to meet its infrastructure needs.

The delegates agreed on a need to encourage the Diaspora to organise themselves in regional networks  and establish appropriate  mechanisms that will enable their increasing participation in the affairs of the African Union as observers and eventually, in the future, as a sixth region of the continent that would contribute substantially to the implementation of policies and programmes.

Noting that the continent was affected by low-level connectivity of infrastructure networks and poor access to energy and information services among other things, the summit resolved to increase public financing of infrastructure development.

They also committed to developing new and renewable energy resources to provide clean, reliable and affordable energy as well as nuclear energy.

Among the projects adopted are a Diaspora Volunteer Program to develop skills and education and a Development Market Place for an African Diaspora.

The Summit also agreed on a need to coordinate efforts of the existing media and promote new media to re-brand Africa and to counter stereotypes about Africans and people of African descent.

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