Commentary: Africa seeks investment from diaspora

Commentary: Africa seeks investment from diaspora
August 02
09:50 2018

By William Reed

Former U.S. President Barack Obama went to his ancestral home in Kogelo Village, Kenya. Obama’s grandmother lives in Kogelo, where he danced at the opening of a youth center launched by his half-sister Auma Obama’s Sauti Kuu Foundation.

Obama’s first stop in Africa was Johannesburg to give the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in partnership with the multi-billion dollar Motsepe Foundation. Obama’s benefactor, Dr. Patrice Motsepe, is the founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals and worth billions. Celebrity Net Worth reports that both Barack and Michelle Obama’s net worth is $40 million.  Both are examples of the up-and-coming contemporary African Diaspora. 

Send money back to Africa.  The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of all 55 countries on the African continent. The African Diaspora are people who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas via the Atlantic slave trade between the 16th and 19th centuries, with their largest populations in Brazil, the United States and Haiti. 

The AU defines the African Diaspora as consisting: “of people of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent.” AU declares to “invite and encourage the full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of our continent, in the building of the African Union.”

Those that view Africans and African-Americans as “victims” should look closely to learn of a new benefactor with keen entrepreneurial sensibilities, who has managed to accumulate billions of dollars’ worth in savings, which has strong cultural ties to the ancestral homeland.  Africa’s Diaspora accumulated an estimated U.S. $53 billion in savings every year.

Large numbers of Diaspora Blacks live and work in and among higher-income countries. Most diaspora members’ incomes are modest by the standards of rich nations, and their savings might seem meager in the world of development funding, but collectively they can add up to staggering amounts of money.  Worldwide, African Diaspora members have accumulated an estimated U.S. $53 billion in savings annually, including more than U.S. $30 billion saved by people from sub-Saharan Africa.

The development potential for Africa’s Diaspora is about “more than remittances,” “human capital” of knowledge and expertise gained while working abroad.  The World Bank and other development partners revealed that the total money transfers by African migrants to their region or country of origin surged to $35.2 billion, in 2015.

Blacks of the Diaspora share values, interests and heritage.  The Diaspora’s Blacks could all get rich by connecting and working together.  Links between the African Diaspora and African development are already happening. Diaspora members already invest in real estate, entrepreneurial businesses, and capital markets. Sometimes they pool their money with friends or form an investment consortium.

Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, a Ghanaian national, is the permanent representative of the African Union Representational Mission to the United States of America.  She recently invited the deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission, Quartey Thomas Kwesi, to Washington to discuss next steps for implementing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA).  The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) is a noteworthy achievement.  A groundbreaking achievement in African diplomacy, trade, and economic development the CFTA has the potential to cover 1.2 billion people and over $4 trillion in combined consumer and business spending opens up the continent to new investors and better opportunities for its entrepreneurs.  Intra-African trade is expected to skyrocket, and with it, industry and manufacturing. At the same time, the agreement introduces opportunities to re-approach existing trade relationships, like the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), to make trade more beneficial for all.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via

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