Africa Must Invest in its Diaspora

Published on 14th February 2012

There is no such thing as a free lunch. To get Diaspora Africans to invest on the continent, proactive incentives must be put in place. We welcome Africa's renewed interest to tap into its Diaspora. Kenya's release of a Draft Sessional Paper on the Diaspora; Senegal's creation of a Ministry to handle Diaspora issues and Nigeria's setting aside of $ 5 million for Diaspora activities are examples of ongoing steps in the right direction. 

The role of Diaspora in development cannot be ignored.  According to the Africa Development Bank and The World Bank; over thirty million Africans across the globe directly invested $40 billion into the continent's economy in 2010.  Their investment was channeled into real estate, new businesses and education, among other areas. 

As we attract our Diaspora, it is important to consider that they have been exposed to more efficient production orientation. Africans at home should not seek to make them sink into our inefficient systems.  We should invest in an environment that will make them share their experience for progress.

Two models exist from which Africans can learn from. European Diaspora built the United States of America and Australia among others. Chinese and Indian Diaspora present a model where one can build their country of origin without necessarily conquering new territories.

Developed countries have put in place systems that make their citizenry to be proud of their countries. Consequently, the citizenry, wherever placed, have no qualm identifying with the respective countries. Africa ought to develop structures that will make Africans to identify with, be proud of Africa and contribute to its development. This can partly be achieved by putting in place socio-economic and political structures that ensure security, wealth creation, predictability, due process and rewarding of productivity.

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