Posted - 03 Jan 2023 : 15:24:11
Old Man Musing
By Hassan Gibril
CONTRIBUTION OF DIASPORA AFRICANS TO BUILDING A NEW AFRICA
The clarion call should be made on Africans living in the Diaspora, especially those in the developed and advanced democracies, to bring their acquired much needed skills and human resources to impact positively on the building of a new Africa.
Under the “Change Agenda” embraced, across board and indeed by all and sundry, the Diaspora has become a huge platform for any administration to leverage for the realization of national developmental aspirations and objectives.
One can cite the experiences of India, China and Korea whose citizens abroad contributed immensely to their phenomenal economic growth and development.
Diaspora Africans are therefore being urged to make the sacrifice that could and would possibly impact the socio-economic development of our countries and, ipso facto, the life of our very own fellow citizens.
A “bottom-up approach” could be adopted whereby government’s interventions would come in the provision of the physical, infrastructure, implementation of robust economic and social policies that would provide opportunities and succor for scores of thousands of poor people in our country.
Perhaps, possibilities for investments and interventions in the power sector, for instance and notably in our own Gambia, should be made available to the Diaspora community since the power shortage is hindering economic development, which is a sine qua non for private sector-led economic development.
In the agriculture sector, African governments should consider pursuing self-sustenance in the production of items such as rice, wheat, cotton etc and therefore considerably reduce foreign exchange requirement for importation of such items.
Possibilities for massive job creation particularly for the growing youth populations should be seriously considered. For instance, the textile and garment factories should be given a new lease of life in the shortest possible time but particularly for African nationals.
Therefore, serious consideration should be given for investments in the area of infrastructure, agriculture, market gardening, animal husbandry, fisheries and even sand mining or energy exploration etc which would absorb many of the qualified or skilled or even unskilled, and yet unemployed.
In addition, African governments should perhaps now embark in earnest on a major job creation plan, expected to create several opportunities for our youth and women population.
In this regard, the important role that Africans in the Diaspora can play in the new Africa, which is now under construction, must be underscored.
It is well known that several nations of the world had tapped into the wealth of knowledge and exposure of their citizen overseas mixed with those at home to build thriving economies.
India, as an example inter alia, had attained its present global status in part because of the contribution of its citizens in the Diaspora.
But search for Diaspora must be initiated by our governments currently in place.
But, conversely, the Diaspora must also be enfranchised and given its rightful place in governance and decision-making structures.
It cannot therefore be gainsaid that now is the right time for Africans in the Diaspora to also make sacrifices, on their part, towards contributing their quota to nation building, if given the opportunity or if approached, especially when our African countries are presently facing numerous obstacles and challenges in our overall ongoing developmental efforts.
The impact that the Diaspora of those nations (cited above) have brought to bear would not have been possible if they were not prepared to make the right approaches and the necessary sacrifices.
If many of those in the Diaspora had waited for their home environment to be completely ideal or viewed as conducive or enabling, before they had started to actively get involved and engage in their home countries, they would probably still be waiting till now.
However and at any rate, one must stress on the need for Diaspora Africans to now seriously and meaningfully get organized in keeping continued links to their countries for the purpose of contributing to the development of their countries and the upliftment of their own peoples.
They are therefore being urged to consider to key into ongoing efforts, when and where possible, at creating a new Africa.
Besides, it would not be out of place to commend Africans in the Diaspora for their individual achievements which, undoubtedly, have given our countries a positive image and their rightful places in the international community and committee of nations.
Consequently, it is therefore imperative for the powers that be to now seriously focus on harnessing the skills and expertise of the African Diaspora communities to help address those pressing issues and matters in critical sectors for Africa’s continued development.
Waiting for foreigners or nationals of other countries or exclusively relying on the donor community and partners cannot and will not be the solution to development challenges in underdeveloped nations, such as in our own Africa.
Once again, I am just thinking aloud, lost as I am in my usual and seemingly endless musings.
Let the reader, please, understand!
A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone