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Opportunities and Challenge

The number of Africans living outside their country of origin has nearly doubled since 1990, to an estimated 28 million in 2020. To this group of people, we can add their descendants who strongly identify with their countries of origin as proud members of the African diaspora. Projections suggest that demographic and technological trends will increase both the size and economic power of this diverse well-spring of human, financial, and social capital.

As the African Continent takes a more central role in the world economy, it is bound to attract more diaspora-led two-way trade, investment, and knowledge transfers. Africa and her diaspora are the future.


But where does this bright economic future take the Continent? What sectors are emerging? What skills are being developed?

Diaspora plays a special role in linking countries of origin with the rest of the world as conduits for commercial and innovative exchanges. But this can become a one-way street instead of two unless there are policies in place to ensure the benefits flow both ways and to all. Having eyes and ears on the pulse of the Continent would connect the various actors across the private sector and local government that are key to enabling investment and ensuring sustainability and opportunity on an equitable basis.


Event and objectives

Building strong links between diasporas and Africa’s development requires new connections, across different entities, between governments, and with policymakers, and among industry leaders. All of these need to help drive business opportunities that have mutually beneficial outcomes.

On the occasion of the 2023 United Nations General Assembly, the African Union, the OECD Development Centre, Minnesota Africans United (MAU), and the World’s Fair Fund are pleased to convene a high-level conference on the contributions of the African Union, Regional Economic Communities, and other sustainable development accelerators in advancing African diaspora-led two-way trade and investment.


African leaders, policymakers, businesspeople, and diasporic groups are invited to share examples and proposals on the ways diasporas can engage in private sector development in Africa.



The event will be structured as follows:


Continental breakfast and networking (8.00-9.00)


Introduction (9.00-9.15)

· Introductory remarks by

  • Basil Ajuo, President of Minnesota Africans United

  • Ragga Arnadottir, Director of the OECD Development Centre

Panel 1: Stories from the diaspora on investing in Africa (9.15-10.45)

· Moderated by Mark Ritchie, Board Chair, World’s Fair Fund

· Panellists:

  • Dr. Thierry Wandji K., Co-Founder & CEO of Cybastion

  • Ms. Efe Ukala, Founder, ImpactHer

  • Abdirahman Kahin, Founder/Owner, Afro Deli and Grill

  • Dr. Chris Brooks, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Brown Venture Group

  • Daryl Bouwkamp, Senior Director Int’l Business Development & Gov’t Affairs, Vermeer

Panel 2: How can governments and African public sector leaders enable diasporic-led investment (10.45-12.15)

· Moderated by ABC

· Panellists:

  • Cameroon

  • Senegal

  • Rwanda


  • African Union Commission


Closing (12.15-12.30)

· Closing remarks by

  • Ragga Arnadottir, Director of the OECD Development Centre

  • Basil Ajuo, President of Minnesota Africans United


Guiding questions for discussion

  • How have diasporic organizations engaged in business opportunities in Africa?

  • What are the range of industries and sectors of growth in Africa?

  • What have been the results of business investment in Africa?

  • What are good practices on diasporic-led investment and trade?

  • What are some inspiring stories on diaspora-led investment in Africa?


Registration and contact details

For more information, please contact:

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