Student Engineering, Université Libre de Bruxelles

This conversation is closed.

How can the African diaspora help the continent?

Do you think only people with strong personalities, or only highly motivated and determined people, can help the continent? Or can a massive movement starting from the outside help Africa? (By creating a network outside the continent, throughout the world...)

  • thumb
    Oct 18 2011: .
    Hi Oli, this is a very interesting topic.

    I know many Congolese in Belgium, and they send quite a bit of money to their relatives in Congo. The money transfers of the global African diaspora run in the tens of billions. Family members then use that money to invest in whathever they think is necessary (education, a business, etc...).

    So the diaspora is already helping, in a sense.

    But the diaspora could do more: it could "translate" and "transfer" knowledge, instead of only money.

    I have a friend who runs a small company that offers advice to budding entrepreneurs from the diaspora, on how to go back to their home country and invest. The members of the diaspora have a big advantage, as they know "modern" management techniques, and can modernise business in their own native country.

    So indeed, your suggestion is pretty interesting: let's create a (business network) of members of the diaspora getting together to give each other advice, support and investment opportunities in order to help lift up their own countries.
    • Oct 19 2011: Yes. It has to be done.
      I think that an event like this and an organisation is essential, to share idea and project a kind of TEDiaspora (with workshop and place to network).

      It will show to student or worker which kind of opportunity we can catch and what we can do for Africa.

      The influence of the diaspora could be amazing.
    • Nov 5 2011: Hi,
      Its already existing in the US and they also have conference in London. Check this website
      Could be interesting to start it in Brussels.
  • Oct 17 2011: The African diaspora has more than just a mere responsibility in educating their leaders, by first understanding their shortcomings and working on them through diaspora forums involving the same leaders as well.
  • Oct 17 2011: I totally agree with you. But don't you think that there is a lack of organisation or structure outside the continent? As you say a big Diaspora forum, could be amazing or just a new version of the TED event but on the topics "The rise of Africa".

    I have learned a lot and have been aware that many amazing project have been created through TEDtalks.
    AIMS by Neil Turok, Ashesi University by Patrick Awuah, and many other.

    Those initiative have to be share throughout all the diaspora, to initiate people to help them or to inspire them.
  • Nov 2 2011: Hi Oli ( ;) ),
    To answer to your first question, I believe that neither type of character have the monopoly of being able to help the continent. I can't remember who said this but I'm convinced that our continent needs strong instutions and not strong men. Instutions lasts, they evolve (in a good or bad direction) but they outlasts men. An instution,corrupt or not, is a structure that sustains a leader; he bases his power on it,uses it. What would help the continent is several groups working together in different areas in order to stabilize african countries. But it has to come from the inside. In order for the diaspora to really help their birth countries,they have to go back,live there long enough to spot the needs,the aspirations.. Otherwise to me,it seems like the diaspora will tend to make the same mistakes as the international organisations that come to Africa and "tell" the people what they need, no matter how good the intentions are, that way of doing is more harmful... But the diaspora can support projects but must have people of trust (and that know what they're doing)on the soil that they're injecting money into...

    Really interesting topic Oli!
  • Oct 25 2011: i think it has its ups and downs.for example flying out of their own country for better living gives you the idea that they are doing this for personal gains.but if the individual outside the country has families that he/she is supporting inside that country then he/she is technically helping that country in a way,with their remittances while giving more economic power to the country that he/she is in.this happens everyday here in the philippines and by this events overseas filipino workers arent really helping our country but country that they are working not saying that there is something wrong with that but i think if youre a filipino then the philippines goes first on your list.the same with other countries too.
  • thumb
    Oct 24 2011: Hello Oli,

    I'm trying to understand how an organized Diaspora can help Africa? I mean when people leave their roots for a better life, it's usually not in the name of a continent. It's to make a better life for their families. A truly noble but individual decision. It's been my experience that once things get "organized" the original meaning gets lost. I think that Diaspora is a natural progression that has been a part of development throughout history.
    • Oct 30 2011: Hi,
      It's a good remarks.
      For some people you're true. (I will only talk about first and second generation of immigrant) But I think that for a good part of the immigrant which came in the west for studying or for political reason are not in a denigration of their origin. They left their country because it was a necessity, political issue, unstable economy...

      As the first or second generation grew up socially and had a stable life in the west a good part of them are interested by the country where they come from, because they let a part of their family and the culture which define them self.