Let Us Create An African Renaissance Sooner Than Later
BY TONY KWAME ANSAH, JR.
The African diaspora may not realize it, but they are in a great position to collaborate and contribute to the motherland of Africa. With the increase of attention towards investing in the businesses of Africa, it’s a crucial and pivotal time for Africans abroad to plan and act for the betterment of the motherland before it’s too late and a new form of colonization resurfaces upon us. As a social entrepreneur of Ghanaian descent, I embarked on a mission to connect dots between Africans at home and abroad, and I am excited to share my perspective on the two communities working together to create an African Renaissance.
In 2015, remittances received by sub-Saharan African countries through formal channels were $35 billion, according to the World Bank. Obviously, the real numbers are much higher when you factor in undocumented cash that reaches Africa through informal and personal exchanges. Some economies in this region are more dependent on remittance than others, with varying percentages of GDP: 31 percent of GDP in Liberia, 22 percent in Gambia, 18 percent in Lesotho, 14 percent in Senegal, and 12 percent in Cabo Verde, just to name a few (migrationpolicy.org). We must not leave out the tremendous amount of goods and materials sent by air or sea to the motherland every year. It’s safe to say that the main reason behind all this giving back home to Mama Africa is because Africans are rooted in a strong belief for loyalty towards bloodline and community.
On one random spring day of 2016 while at work, I engaged in a short and casual conversation with a fellow African co-worker who was putting together a list of names for an African social club. Without much hesitation, I wrote my name down. A couple of months later, I found myself registering an African nonprofit organization, African Coalition, in Massachusetts, USA. This was in June of 2016. Now, I never imagined that joining a social club to support a diverse group of fellow African co-workers morally, socially, and financially would lead up to me being an active member doing administrative duties.
In 2017, I decided to do some outreach work for the same organization, which required me to search for other African nonprofits in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the state of Rhode Island. I managed to find a small number of nonprofits online and got in contact with them to schedule face-to-face meetings. I did this because I wanted to get in-person testimonials from their leadership about their nonprofit services as African organizations in New England.
One thing that kept repeating itself like a scratched old record being played out loud, the lack of African immigrants or the African diaspora organizing themselves to support foreign and domestic issues related to Africans at home and abroad. I’m not sure how many associations and organizations are African-led and run, but there are probably thousands of them in the United States alone. Yet, we often hear stories of African migrants fleeing their countries of origin for greener pastures who end up becoming slaves or dying during their migration to prosperity. (Don’t get me wrong; I’m aware there are economic, political and social reasons that lead up to such desperate situations.)
In my pursuits, I rushed off to an African organizational meeting of leaders in Boston, MA for a great cause late last year, which was MARCH for FREEDOM AGAINST SLAVERY in Libya and Beyond. This gathering had to do with the enslavement of African migrants in Libya. My takeaway and food for thought on that day was that the African diaspora is in a position to offer essential support to fellow African natives, especially the underemployed and the unemployed. Imagine if most African nonprofit organizations in the U.S. alone devised a strategic plan to provide programs and services specifically for the African continent to advance their social and economic status across the board, this would have groundbreaking impact. That is some interesting food to chew, swallow and digest for a lifetime. I look forward to when I can partake in connecting the dots on such a master plan for positive socioeconomic outcomes inside and outside of Africa.
There is an opportunity to collaborate within the African diaspora with a purpose to bring about social impact and financial independence in Africa and elsewhere. Although not all will be interested in such an initiative or deem it as their responsibility, those who are ready and willing to participate in rebuilding Africa from the ground up should come together and map out plans to create an African renaissance sooner rather than later. Do you agree?
Tony Ansah, Jr. is a self-published author, a public administrator by profession, and a social entrepreneur based in Rhode Island, U.S.A. He is also the founder and owner of Ansah Africa, a consulting and marketing startup established in 2017.