28 May 2012
The Global African Diaspora Summit ended in Johannesburg on Friday evening with the adoption of a set of legacy projects aimed at strengthening the contribution of the diaspora to the continent.
The projects, endorsed by African leaders at the summit, include a fund that will harness the financial resources of Africans based in the diaspora for development projects on the continent.
The fund will provide a platform through which the African Union (AU) Commission will lure the African diaspora to contribute to the continent’s development. According to the AU, the continent will require about US$60-billion in the next 10 years to meet its infrastructure needs.
The summit also resolved to establish a Diaspora Volunteer Program in order to associate the diaspora directly with the development efforts of the continent, as well as to give concrete meaning to the concept of the “African family”.
The summit was of the view that through education and skills development Africa would conquer the ills of poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment.
The summit also resolved to promote the Development Market Place for an African Diaspora model as a framework to facilitate innovation and develop entrepreneurship to empower the youth of the continent and her diaspora.
Speaking at the closing of the summit, President Jacob Zuma said resolutions taken at the summit, as well as the announcement that South Africa would share in the hosting of the world’s most powerful radio telescope – the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope – demonstrated that Africans were more than capable of successfully taking their destiny in their own hands.
“Africa is here. Africa is rising. Africa is happening, and no one will stop us because we have what it takes to make it work.”
By hosting the summit, Zuma said, the leaders had asserted their “shared descendency; our shared vision; our shared history; our shared experience, and our shared commitment to overcome the challenges faced by our people on the African continent.
“Whilst this project must inspire us, its outcomes are a clear demonstration that even though we are situated in different parts of the world, nothing must prevent us from working towards a common goal – that of creating a better life for the people of Africa and the diaspora.”
The resolutions taken at the summit, Zuma added, would ensure that Africa provided decent jobs to the people. “We must ensure that all our people live in a safe and secure environment.”
The current Chairperson of the AU and Benin President Bon Yayi said the crucial thing now was how Africa and its diaspora were going to collectively realise the goals set at the summit.
“These initiatives do not and cannot end at this summit, in fact actual work begins now,” Yayi said.
The summit, attended by several current and former heads of state, opened earlier with a call for African leaders to accelerate progress towards the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.