African Diaspora Technical Committee of Experts Meeting

ADPC On February 21-22, 2011, the South African government in cooperation with the African Union Commission hosted a Technical Committee of Experts Meeting in Pretoria. The technical experts were asked to come up with concrete policy proposals for bankable projects within the ambit of political, economic and social areas of cooperation. The director of the African Diaspora Policy Centre (ADPC), Awil Mohamoud, participated in the meeting. The event brought together experts from the continent and its Diaspora and marked the commencement of the implementation of the first key element of the AU/South Africa African Diaspora roadmap. The other two key elements, as presented by South Africa and endorsed by the AU, are the Ministerial meeting planned to take place in September 2011 followed by an African Diaspora Summit that will be held in 2012.

The commitment to organize a Diaspora Summit on the continent is a key priority of the African Diaspora Initiative that the African Union Commission has launched in order to connect the Diaspora to the development of the continent. Subsequently, the African Union Commission mandated the South Africa government to host the Diaspora Summit in 2008, but was later postponed due to unforeseen circumstances.

The African Union Commission has committed to widen the development constituency in Africa by incorporating the diaspora in the development process as valuable partners. For instance, the AU Commission has created the African Citizens Directorate (CIDO) to manage the relationship between overseas diasporas and homeland governments. The diaspora is now seen as a force for positive change that should be harnessed for the benefit of Africa, and one of the expressed policy goals of the African Union is to involve the diaspora more actively in the development of the continent. As a sign of recognition, the AU recently designated Africans in the diaspora as members of its “sixth region”. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has also been trying actively to reach out to the diaspora and involve them more closely with development efforts on the continent. In short, the continent as a whole is eager to reap the benefits of the resources available within its huge population residing outside of Africa.

This is in response to the increasing involvement of the diaspora in the development of their respective homelands on a larger scale, for members of the African diaspora have already positioned themselves as critical development actors in development cooperation policy circles. They have become the key drivers for a diaspora-led development sector that is quite different from the traditional development cooperation sector, which is typically the domain of more developed donor governments. Consequently, members of the African diaspora are contributing huge resources to the social welfare and economic growth of their respective homelands, remarkably exceeding the level of the official development assistance (ODA).

More information, including documentation and the full list of participants, can be accessed from the African Diaspora web link on the DIRCO website.

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