July 24, 2014

WORLD BANK AND THE AFRICAN UNION DIASPORA LEGACY PROJECTS

The African Union Commission’s CIDO has flown a group of Africans and African Diaspora to Washington, DC, for a workshop on the AU’s “Flagship” or “Legacy Projects.”  When I received the letter of invitation on the 26th of February, I was just preparing to go to Addis Ababa for the Chairperson’s “Communications Strategic Workshop.”  I looked at the dates and determined that they didn’t overlap and that both had clear cut issues to deal with.

According to the CIDO director, Dr. Jinmi Adisa’s letter of invitation, “The Declaration of the First Global African Diaspora Summit held in Sandton, South Africa, on 25 May 2012 adopted five Flagship or Legacy Projects that would give immediate, urgent and practical meaning to the implementation agenda.  These projects included the African Diaspora Volunteer Corps, the African Diaspora Skills Database, the African Institute for Remittance, the African Diaspora Investment Fund and Development Market place for African Development.

In the aftermath of the Summit, priority has been assigned to development appropriate implementation frameworks for the projects.  As part of tis process, the AU Commission in cooperation with the World Bank is organizing a Consultation/Workshop in Washington DC from 25-28 March 2013 on how to operationalize the Legacy Projects.  The objective of this Workshop is to lay the groundwork for project documents in each of the various areas to facilitate the implementation process.

The Consultation/Workshop will involve brainstorming sessions each of the main project areas to elaborate on desired and/or expected outcomes, deliverables, program, components, tools, actors and instruments, funding requirements, manpower support needs and a review monitoring and evaluation process that would include indicators and benchmarks for assessing progress and performance.

The brainstorming session will set the pace for review and finalization of project documents that will then be submitted to a workshop of Experts from all the 54 Member States of the Union in June 2013.  The outcomes of that meeting will then be submitted to the executive organs of the African Union for consideration and or approval.”

I said finally, we are going to do something or at least have a follow-up on the enormous amount of time and money it took to put together the Global African Diaspora Summit – which took 8 years in planning.  It had seemed that it would be one of those “Summits” that we always have and nothing comes out of it.

But more importantly is what I see as a different behavior on the part of the African Union organizers of the event.  There is what I would call an efficiency quotient here.  I guess if you are going to be in the presence of somebody who is going to give you money, you better be at your best behavior.  What I mean by that is the kind of rapid-fire execution of the preparations before the meeting.  Information and travel arrangements have been implemented well in advance.  Tickets were booked, confirmed and provided to attendees well in advance.  Arrival information and how to get to your hotel in DC were also well provided in advance.  Just to make sure for myself, I had to call the airline, make sure this time I was confirmed on the flight, select my seat going and coming back.  Then I called the hotel, and said wow, what’s going on here.  Is this a different AU or what?

Well, we have been picked up from the hotel with vans owned by people I would call North Africans, great.  We are being taken to the World Bank, and from what I can see on arrival here, it seems like a very tight program with very few people, because the round-table only seats about 38 people.

Well, we are going to begin the discussion on the implementation process of the Flagship or Legacy Projects of the African Union.

Comments

  1. Nathanyah Halevi says:

    This is a great initiative that is long overdue but it seems a bit one sided in that it only identifys building institutions that are related to the Diaspora contributing which is no problem but what is Father/Mother Africa giving or offering to her children in the Diaspora in return such as Dual Citizenship, Land ownership, VISA requirement and removing the stigma of “foreigner” as a classification. Especially for those born in the Diaspora by chance of the North Atlantic Slave Trade who never voluntarily or willfully surrendered their citizenship . Where are those reintegation programs, incentives or initatives amongst the “Legacy Projects”?

    One must naturally see a return value in their sacrifice or investment.

  2. I largely agree with what Nathanyah Halevi says (although why differentiate between diasporans who ‘never voluntarily or wilfully surrendered their citizenship’ and those who didn’t isn’t a helpful or useful distinction). I’m struggling to find concrete information and documentation about this initiative. Are they projects designated by AU that they seek funding for? (seems like it) or have they had discussions with people in the diaspora regarding where and how they would like their investment to be employed?

  3. Shaka Barak says:

    Greetings Chika Onyeani,Kadija George and Nathanyah Halevi, It seems that the Legacy Project when completed by 2017, will be a benefit to Africans at home and abroad. The project of developing a data base that list all the skills in the diaspora, will benefit the diaspora as well when they gather those skills to build their communities, in New York, Chicago, Alabama, Haiti, Jamaica.etc. Likewise, the volunteer corps can certainly come in handy when there is an earthquake in California, or a hurricane in New Orleans, when volunteers are needed to feed, and cloth the homeless, and naked, or stack sand bags to keep back the floods. In short, every legacy project is a good investment for Africans at home and Africans in the Diaspora. This is not a one-sided proposition because, the power from the unity of the Diaspora that some number in the hundreds of millions, would far exceed our imagination. Dr. Zuma, in her recent Agenda 2063, projected into the future when our work had reached a high level of success and it reflected many accomplishments. When we put our hands and heads together, we will not only have great dreams of a United Africa, but one where prosperity is achieved, and where poverty disease, illiteracy, are eradicated from the African people forever. We will fullfil the legacy projects because the Honorable Marcus Garvey, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Harrite Tubman, Queen Nzinga, Nelson Mandela are counting on us. Shaka Barak, President, The Marcus Garvey Institute.

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