Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Overview of African Union Global African Diaspora Summit

Written by Tony Tafari Thomas on behalf of Rastafari Global Council, May 10th 2012

The African Union Global African Diaspora Summit took place on May 25th in South Africa. It was the first diaspora summit and was attended by representatives of African, Caribbean and South American states and representatives from CARICOM. African-Americans were represented by former mayor of New York David Dikins.
The summit ended with the formulation and commitment to a programme of action and 5 key proposals.
The plan of action was organised into 3 categories,
1.     Political cooperation
2.     Economic cooperation
3.     Social cooperation
Political cooperation
The key points in the category of political cooperation include,
1.     Establishment of formal relationships between states
2.     Support of the AU as diaspora focal point
3.     Development of diaspora task force
4.     Encouragement of diaspora to organise regional networks and mechanisms that will enable increased participation in AU affairs.
5.     Creation of a conducive environment to invest, work and travel in Africa.
Economic cooperation
The key points in the category of economic cooperation include,
1.     Mobilisation of capital using financial instruments
2.     Listing of African diaspora companies in African stock exchanges
3.     Regular meetings between national chambers of commerce
4.     Promotion of development of institutions dedicated to innovation, invention and social and economic development
5.     Support the development of fibre optic cabling
Social cooperation
The key points in the category of social cooperation include,
1.     Design and development of a platform for Africa and diaspora educators and scholars
2.     Development of African-centred institutions and programmes
3.     Promotion of education as a basic condition for achieving human development
4.     Prioritise the coordination and funding of cultural exchange programmes
5.     Encourage and disseminate information on African diaspora projects such as the Museum of Black Civilisation, an African Remembrance Square, the African Renaissance, the Joseph Project and slave monument
6.     Support and encouragement of global observance days as symbols of solidarity, Africa Day, African Union Day, Black History Month and Emancipation day
7.     Rebranding of Africa – Good governance and rule of law to strengthen image of Africa
The 5 key proposals are as follows,
1.     Skills database
2.     African Diaspora Volunteer Corps
3.     African Diaspora Investment Fund
4.     African Remittances Institute
5.     Create incentives for investment and foster more conducive business environment
The next phase of the AU diaspora project is focused on agreeing multi-stakeholder working groups made up of AU, CARICOM and representatives from the diaspora in the following areas,
1.     Economic cooperation including infrastructure, sea and air links, trade and investment and travel and tourism
2.     Science and technology including low earth orbit satellite, research in agriculture, biotechnology, renewable energy solutions, infectious and non-infectious diseases
Rastafari Global Council Response
Rastafari Global Council proposes that we adopt the programme of action and the 5 key proposals as the fundamental work of the Rastafari Global Council and the Rastafari community. We believe that the summit and the proposals that are a product of it offer the only realistic mechanism through which Rastafari can constructively engage with Africa. We believe this summit is a historically important step towards the integration of Africa’s diaspora into Africa.
Rastafari Global Council short term plan of action
1.     Make official contact with the AU and CARICOM and the state representatives from Africa, the Caribbean and South America
2.     Organise working groups to work on the 5 key proposals
3.     Formulate 3 committees to work on political, economic and social cooperation.
4.     Offer RGC as diaspora representatives in the multi-stakeholder working groups in the areas of economic cooperation and science and technology

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