President Muhammadu Buhari has called for African Governments to connect to Africa’s Diaspora for the sustainable development of the continent.
Buhari said this in his keynote address at the ongoing Global African Diaspora Symposium (GADS) which was held in Abuja on Thursday.
The president was represented by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Mu’azu Sambo.
The president said African governments needed to harness human and material resources of the Diaspora.
This, he said, would enable them to become forces to be reckoned with in regards to sustainable development of their homelands, regional bodies, and national governments.
He said this could be done through remittances, medical missions, educational visits, tourism, investments and enterprises, among others.
“On this note, there have been foreign and national initiatives to harness the potentials of the African Diaspora in the development of the African continent.
“The African Union, African governments have been making efforts towards mobilising the African diaspora for the social and economic development of African communities worldwide.
“There have been statements by high level officials of several countries, calling for quote unquote, turning the brain drain into brain gain.
“The African Union has designated the Diaspora as the sixth region and some African governments have established cabinet positions within the governments to mobilise the diaspora.
“These are all laudable initiatives geared towards the economic growth of Africa by connection with the African diaspora.”
Moreover, he said the objectives of the symposium would lead to outcomes that portrayed to the entire African Diaspora, “a possible sense of belonging and homecoming, with an ease of entry or movement for the Diaspora into Africa”.
Buhari also said it would be beneficial for an improved collaboration on Diaspora engagement between multilateral organisations.
Speaking, President, ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Alieu Touray, said building stronger connections between Africa and Diaspora globally was pertinent to the contribution of the Diaspora to global security, stability and development.
Touray said it would enable the Diaspora recognise that they are important actors in the integration and development of Africa.
“For this reason, there is a need for continuous evaluation of the extant policies and regulations for enhanced Diaspora engagement.
“I call on participants to this important conference to help us move from business as usual.
“Concrete and actionable Diaspora strategy, both strategies that will serve both the members of the diaspora and Africa.”
Also speaking, President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni said the theme of the symposium had a role to play in shaping Africa’s future.
Museveni was represented by Amb. Abbey Walusimbi, Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Uganda.
The Ugandan president said African Governments should work towards a more integrated and prosperous Africa to recognise the importance of the Diaspora community.
He said recognising their importance would encourage them to take an active role in the development of their different countries.
“This is very critical to ensuring that Diaspora resources and expertise for the benefit of Africa and that the Diaspora community is engaged in our coordinated transformation agenda.”
He also said the symposium provided the opportunity for stakeholders to exchange ideas, share experiences, and explore innovative solutions for division and sustainable development in Africa.
Meanwhile, in his message, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said economic integration was the single biggest force that could help African Union realise its economic ambitions outlined in Agenda 2063.
Akufo-Addo was represented by Amb. Sena Siaw-Boateng, Ambassador of Ghana to the Kingdom of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and Head of Mission to the European Union.
“Integration, indeed, is championing the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement of which its secretariat is based in Accra.
“This challenge demands commitment, patience, and clear sightedness, as well as the consistent support of our Diaspora.” (NAN)