Diaspora summit to address African agenda

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pretoria - The Sandton Convention Centre will be abuzz this week as leaders and representatives from over 60 countries will gather for the first Global African Diaspora Summit, which seeks to push for a change in global attitude through building and maintaining strong democracies, good governance and advancement.

The summit, to be held under the theme "Towards the Realisation of a United and Integrated Africa and its Diaspora" on Friday, is in collaboration with the AU and the South African government. It will attract African leaders and those in the diaspora from countries in the Caribbean, the Americas and elsewhere.

It will be preceded by an African Diaspora Ministerial Meeting at Tambo Building, the head office of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in Pretoria on Wednesday and a meeting of senior officials the next day. Dirco has also planned a media colloquium that will look at telling the African story.

The AU says the overall objective of the summit is to discuss how best to harness skills and energies within the continent and abroad for the socio-economic development of Africa and boost synergies as well as facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship through sustainable partnerships with the African diaspora.

The summit intends to create sustainable partnerships between the African Diaspora and the African continent through a realisable Programme of Action; create sustainable dialogue partnerships for a better Africa and its diaspora; and the promotion of South-South cooperation in the betterment of the African continent and its diaspora.

It will provide a platform for the diaspora to address cross-sectorial issues and actively engage in various areas such as technology transformation, renewable energy, combating HIV and Aids, food security, education and gender equality, among others.

The summit is expected to endorse certain programmatic activities, which will include the AU Diaspora Volunteer Programme that will associate the diaspora directly with the development efforts on the continent and give concrete meaning to concept of one African family.

It will also focus on the development of a skills database of diaspora professionals, an African Diaspora Development Fund and Remittances and Financial instruments, as well as the adoption and promotion of the Development Market Place for an African Diaspora model as a framework to facilitate innovation and develop entrepreneurship to empower the youth of the continent and her diaspora, among others.

In all, the summit presents an opportunity for Africa and its diaspora to cement their current relations and build on the future.