Using Obama to Help Spur Diaspora-Africa Business

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Obama in Kogelo, Kenya. Citizen TV.

[Business Exchange Column]

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, Sauti Kuu Foundation, launched by his sister Auma Obama.

The first Black American president is leading what’s expected to be Black families and descendants "back to Africa." A son of Africa, Obama’s primary gig in Africa was Johannesburg to give the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.

In reality, Obama’s appearance was made in partnership with the multi-billion dollar-endowed Motsepe Foundation. Obama’s benefactor, Dr. Patrice Motsepe is founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals and one of Africa’s Black billionaires. Celebrity Net Worth reports that both Barack and Michelle Obama’s net worth as $40 million. Both are examples of the up-and-coming contemporary African in the Diaspora.

The requested action is “Send money back to Africa.” The continental African Union (AU) union consists of all 54 countries (including Western Sahara) on the African continent. The Diaspora is an AU ambassadorial post 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".

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".

Thirteen million Africans were shipped to the New World; 10.7 million survived the Middle Passage disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America.

Millions of Diaspora Blacks live and work in high-income countries and among prosperous populations. African Americans alone have estimated spending power of over $1.3 trillion. 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 US$53 billion in savings and remittances.
Tremendous opportunities for mutually beneficial business relations exist in the African Diaspora. Moving cash within Africa is an untapped opportunity for money transfer.

Remittances to Africa South South of the Sahara rose to $37.8 billion in 2017. The development potential for Africa's Diaspora is “in human capital" of knowledge and expertise gained while working abroad. The World Bank and other development partners say that the total money transfers by African migrants to their region or country of origin grew to $35.2 billion, by 2015.

We should think Blacks of the Diaspora share values, interests and heritage. The Diaspora’s Black people could all benefit and prosper by connecting and working together. According to the AU, links between the African Diaspora and African development continue to grow.

Diaspora members already invest in real estate, entrepreneurial businesses, and capital markets. Sometimes they pool their money with friends or form an investment consortium.

Merging of the mindsets and monies of Africans of the Diaspora is the AU’s goal. Blacks can be Diaspora benefactors by matching keen entrepreneurial sensibilities, strong cultural ties to partners in the ancestral homeland. Africa’s Diaspora accumulates an estimated US$53 billion every year.

The African Union Commission is seeking to implement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). The African Continental Free Trade Agreement signed earlier this year is a noteworthy 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. The CFTA opens the continent to new investors and better opportunities for its entrepreneurs.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com

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