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Journée diaspora #Diaspora


Kenya Diaspora Alliance, Shem Ochuodho
Door of our return (DOOR), Rev Dennis Dillon, President
High Commission of the African Diaspora in France, Rachida Kaaout


Chair : Mr Shem Ochuodho, Kenya Diaspora Alliance
Moderator : Reverend Dennis Dillion, President, the DOOR

14:30 – 14:40 Welcoming address, by Prof Peter Anyang Nyong’o, Governor, Kisumu County Government
14:40 – 15:15 Setting the scene : Africa and her Diaspora : where do we go from here ? By the Moderator, Reverend Dennis Dillon
15:15 – 16:00 Panel 1 : Improving the connections between Africa and its Diaspora
John Dossavi, President, RAPEC, promotor of the World Day of African and Afro- descendent culture
Mrs. Rachida Kaaout, High Commissionner of the Diaspora in France
Mrs Marianna Dieng, High Commissioner of the Diaspora in France
Senator James Sanders, New York State Senator & Chairman of Committee on Banks for the New York State Senate
16:00 – 16:30 Break
16:30 – 17:15 Panel 2 : Exploring mutually beneficial business opportunities
Dr Delroy Brown, Entrepreneur and Founder of Browns SuperFood
Walter Mosley, President and CEO of Mosley Advisory Group
Mrs. Valerie White, Senior Executive Director of LISC, NYC
Mrs. Kate Isa, Founder and CEO of Katchey Company Limited and First Female Presodent of Scientific Products Association of Nigeria
17:15 – 18:00 Panel 3 : Deepening the relations between Africa and its Diaspora around heritage, culture and creative industries.
Mrs. Paida Chamba, Fashon Designer, DeMOYO, also worked in the USA with Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors
Alphadi, Fashion Designer, Niger
Mrs. T’Nisha Glenn, Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of BLAQUE Inc. Nominee among the American Express 100 Black Women Entrepreneurs
Commissioner Gordon William, Sound Engineer and Music Producer, seven-time Grammy Award winner, New York
Zik Zulu Okafor, Chief Executive, Energy and Business Medi and Zulu Films, Former President of the Association of Movie Producers, Nigeria
18:00 – 18:30 Adoption of resolutions and recommendations


African Diaspora consists of millions of peoples of African descent living in various societies outside Africa who are united by a past based significantly but not exclusively upon their departure or that of their parents or ancestors from the African continent to settle in other regions outside Africa. Most of this movement was forced in past time, and become more voluntary nowadays. This African Diaspora despite the cultural variations and political and other divisions among them share an emotional bond with one another and with their belonging to the continent of their ancestors they recognize as the Motherland or the Fatherland. They have a feeling that regardless of their location, they face broadly similar problems in constructing and realizing themselves where they live, facing often time the trauma of being discriminated and/or oppressed because of their race or conditions.
Although the Diaspora involve the movement of a particular people to several places at once or over time, a migration is usually of a more limited scope and duration, and involves the movement of individuals from one point to another within a polity or outside. That is the reason why some scholars propose to distinguish migrants from people from the Diaspora that are generally established in their place of living longer that migrants. It is however obvious that the limits between the two processes are elastic because diaspora is often the product of the sedimentation of several migration streams. This is why the African Union adopted a broader definition of the African Diaspora as individuals of African origin living away from their home African continent ; and has decided to grant the African Diaspora the status of the sixth region of the African Union.
With this definition, the African Diaspora amounts to 150 million people, with the five most important cohorts being Brazil (60 million), USA (45 million), Haiti (10 million), Dominican Republic (9.5 million) and Colombia (5 million). The other countries that house an important African Diaspora are the following per order of importance : France (3.8 million) ; Venezuela (3.2 million) ; Jamaica (2.8 million) ; United Kingdom (2.5 million) ; and Mexico (1.4 million people). African outside the continent have participated in the building of the places they are living in, and have gathered a wealth of skills and knowledge, that can be an important asset for the development of Africa.
Furthermore, experts estimate that Africans outside the continent have an estimated spending power of 4 trillion dollars. This means there is massive potential to leverage this capacity to contribute to Africa’s economic development and structural transformation. On the other hand, financial transfers from migrants and the Diaspora to Africa are greater than resources provided by official development assistance. This means that there is enormous potential if this capacity could be harnessed to contribute to Africa’s economic development and structural transformation.
Moreover, Africa owes the emergence of the concept of pan-Africanism to its diaspora. Generally speaking, "Africans" have traditionally embraced ethnic identification or, more recently, the identity of post-colonial states. The idea of Africanism beyond ethnic identification emerged from the diaspora, particularly in the Americas, where the shared endurance of, and struggle against racial oppression forged an awareness of the need to identify primarily as people of African descent. This is how the imperative of African unity flourished and took hold, embodied in the creation of the Organization of African Unity in 1963, and later in 2002, of the African Union. Many initiatives have emerged that aims at consolidating both the unity of Africa and the liaison between the Africans on the continent and the Africans and people of African descents in the Diaspora. These initiatives will be presented and discussed during the Diaspora Day.
The African Diaspora is therefore at the heart of the concept of Africanism and African unity. Joining forces of Africans living on the continent and African Diaspora is prerequisite to building the required unity to turn the tide towards economic self-sustenance of the continent and engage a successful journey towards the Africa We Want.
This Diaspora Day is also about identifying the constraints and opportunities to unlock and mainstream Diaspora participation in the development agenda of Africa. The proceedings will particularly define the role that subnational and local governments can play to facilitate the participation of the Diaspora in local development, including in intermediary cities of Africa.

Concept Paper

The year 2019, marked 400 years since the first documented ship anchored the shores of America with chained slaves from Africa. In that year there was a Mobilization of African Americans to connect with Africa through the DOOR of Our Return Initiative. Important to note that our ancestors were not taken as slaves to America for social programs, it was for an economic agenda.
The African Union has recognized the Africa Diaspora as the Sixth Regional Economic community and is broadening the involvement of the Diaspora in the development agenda of the continent as well as in the policy processes. The Diaspora is equally keen to be involved in the development of the continent. This therefore calls for the continued need to strengthen the bond between the African Union and the sixth region of the continent. Africans outside the Continent have an estimated spending power of 4 trillion dollars, therefore amplifying the need for collaboration, exchanges and capacity building contributing to Africa’s economic development.
Collaboration with the Diaspora in private sector, government, civil society is key in mobilizing and sharing knowledge, expertise, technologies and economic resources to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in Africa as articulated in the African Union Agenda 2063.

Goals and Objectives
Below are the goals and objectives for the DOOR Movement :

  • Break and dismiss the emotional and psychological beliefs and assertions– the Doors of No Return, which served as prison exits from Africa and gateways to brutal slavery and years of lynching in the Americas, must become The Doors of Our Return.
  • Economic Development – bring together leading indigenous African and global Black-owned enterprises that will serve as a push forward for Black -owned enterprises and a strong global African economy. Foster Africa-USA cities strategic partnerships leading to economic development. Provide access to investment and economic opportunities.
  • Tourism & Travel – THE DOOR shares a deep commitment to expose and promote Africa as a primary tourism destination Time Magazine further noted that the power of a rising generation of Black millennials is creating what is being called the Black Travel Movement. Africa must be a central focal point in this new travel revolution, linking medical tourism, business travel, educational exchanges, and faith tourism in this movement.
  • Youth movement and a Millennial revolutions - creation of formidable networks of young people, allowing these rich, duly-endowed millennial game changers who are tech savvy and well equipped with education, creativity and time to be the great innovators of a progressive future where Africa is at the core.
  • Promote and Rebrand Africa – For hundreds of years, Africa has been marginalized, misunderstood, and stigmatized. Reinforce, with pride, the strength and power of Africa and its people will serve as a microphone that amplifies all that is good and positive about Africa.

Strategic Pillars
This movement is anchored by four strategic pillars.

  • Forgiving each other and freeing the mind. Broken people have no strength and cannot build. Address the pain and trauma through the historic displacement, discrimination, denigration due to the Transatlantic slave trade.
  • Together we can do more. Build sustainable relationships including city-to- city strategic partnerships youth exchange and women empowerment programs.
  • An economic redemption agenda, will not go back home empty-handed. Will establish mutually beneficial business consortiums leading to Africa economic redemption.
  • Restored identity. Understand the good African culture and authentic African history.
  • The DOOR and UCLG Africa Strategic Partnership
    UCGLA was identified as one of the strategic partners for the DOOR Movement, opening the Door to the Diaspora. Below are some key events done together with UCLG Africa

The Journey So Far :
African Union Development Agency NEPAD Diaspora Economic Dialogue
In preparation for the November 2019, the Diaspora Dialogue was held on September 26, 2019, hosted by the former Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams who is now Mayor of New York City. The UCLGA Secretary General was one of the Speakers and also had a courtesy call with Eric Adams. The meeting was attended by some key business, government officials, development agencies and community.

The Return After 400 years
November 2019 marked the beginning of the journey back to Mother Land led by Rev Dennis Dillon and key leaders including Dr Julius Garvey and Senator James Sanders,
The first country visited was Ghana, where the key leaders met with the President of Ghana, Akufo-Addo, key government leaders and business community. Projects and opportunities to collaborate on were discussed in business forums.
The US delegation visited the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, a fortress used to confine slaves in Ghana.
The delegation proceeded to Senegal and was hosted by the then Hon Mayor of Dakar, Soham El Wardini and Hon Mayor Gore Island. The visit to Gore Island was marked with official opening of the DOOR to forcefully displaced sons and daughters of Africa. The two mayors and the UCLG Africa Secretary General, Mr Mbassi Jean Pierre led the opening of the DOOR ceremony. A Business Forum was also held, exchanging investment opportunities.
The delegation proceeded to the Pan African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa, where a Joint Session and Plenary was held on November 21, 2019.
The Chairman and Chief Executive National Diaspora Commission Nigeria - Presidency Office, Nigeria, Ms Abike Dabiri-Erewa joined the delegation. Nelson Mandela’s eldest daughter Maki Mandela joined the Business Summit.
An Investment Summit was held the following day, attended by business, government and community leaders including King Kgoshi Hosi Mahumani.
The DOOR participated and presented at the Africa Day Pan African Parliament/ Africa Diaspora Consultative Meeting on May 25, 2022. The UCLG Africa Secretary General, Mr Mbassi Jean Pierre was one of the speakers. The interventions were well received including

Where do we go from here ?

  • Mayors to be the first port of call for the Diaspora Business Community - opening doors to the city
  • stablish US/ Africa City and State twinning


  • City to City Business Forums
  • Business coaching/mentorship programs


  • City Cultural Events including music, fashion
  • Participate at the annual Harlem Week - US- Africa Fashion Show and Africa Music
    Festival during Harlem Week

Mains issues to be raised :

  • How do we build a new narrative that reconciles Africa and its Diaspora ?
  • How to make the most of the investment potential that local Africa represents for the Diaspora investors ?
  • How to take advantage of the accumulated experience of the Diaspora in host countries to improve human resource capacity and performance in Africa ?

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