By Dr. Roland Holou
Almost every African country is trying to engage with its diaspora. However, when it comes to how to convince the African diaspora to work with their country of origin, the methods used are not working. One of the first things that comes to the mind of most Africans living in Africa is to ask the diaspora to help them, forgetting that no one is helping the diaspora abroad for free. In contrast, the first thing that enters the mind of most diasporas is whether Africa knows why they have left the continent and what they are facing abroad. I (http://www.RolandHolou.com) founded DiasporaEngager, a premier international diaspora social media platform and have been working on diaspora and brain drain issues for years.
Indeed, many Africans have left Africa because they were chased away by some leaders and sorcerers. Most leaders are not trying to better know and understand the African diaspora before asking them to come invest their money in Africa. The migration of the diasporas from their home country to their new country of residence is a kind of “divorce or break up” with their roots. These types of diaspora engagement cannot work. In order to start aligning the mentality of Africa with that of its diaspora, several basic first steps must be addressed; otherwise, the synergistic coalition needed for African Diaspora Engagement (http://www.diasporaengager.com/Africa) will continue lacking. After spending years working on the African problems and writing books on African Development, I can conclude that Africa and its diaspora need to start “dating” each other again before committing to a relationship. However, while some people that have broken up can easily find new loves, it is not easy for most diaspora to quickly forget their roots and embrace the culture of their new country. Many opportunities still exist to start engaging the African Diasporas in a dialogue with their homeland which dearly needs them.
For this dialog to succeed, it must not begin with begging the diaspora to come back to Africa or to invest in Africa. Similarly, the diaspora should not initiate this dialog by requesting that the African political leaders change overnight. The African immigrants need to know that, though their new life abroad might have changed the way they used to think, some of their brothers and sisters in Africa still remain in an old school of thought. Therefore, the African diaspora must be tolerant with their own people who need to be willing to realign and renew their mentality so that synergistic coalitions can be strategically fostered in a win-win framework for the advancement of Africa rather than allowing some outsiders to keep taking advantage of that continent.
When it comes to engaging the African diaspora in the development of Africa, a few questions need to be sincerely addressed first without forgetting the African-Americans who are also worthy to be called African Diaspora:
1. Who are the African Diaspora?
2. Where are they living?
3. What are they doing?
4. What problems are they facing?
5. Why did they leave Africa?
6. What can we do to forgive each other and embrace a new journey of partnership?
7. How can we partner rather than how can they help us?
8. How can we initiate this partnership without bringing up money as the first issue?
Without following these simple strategic steps, the African diaspora, their political leaders, and their local and international stakeholders will remain at odds and, therefore, unable to work together to create positive change. To learn more about this topic, please join the Global Diaspora Engagement Platform and the African Diaspora Platform at http://DiasporaEngager.com/miniRegister. For any questions or suggestions regarding this article, please contact me, Dr Roland Holou, at rholou@DiasporaEngager.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.