Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Diaspora representation at AU?

Senegal will propose to elevate Africa’s Diaspora to observer status at the body of the African Union during the set of two-day session beginning January 31.

From Journal Chretien:

The Diaspora would be represented in the AU conference for a five-year rotating mandate with a special observer status, said the report copied to APA.

Such initiative would also allow heads of states and governments to better prepare for the AU/Diaspora summit billed for the first semester of this year in South Africa.

The report said the proposal was made as part of a more comprehensive involvement of the Diaspora in realising the « African Union » project.

In this vein, Senegal had previously proposed to make the Diaspora the sixth region of the AU.

Africa’s Diaspora has become an increasingly important group with political and economic clout. The estimated 30 million strong Diaspora is responsible for sending for $40 billion in remittance flows back to the continent in 2006, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development. This money has become a significant form of development. In some countries, like Gambia and Mali, remittances make up more than 10 percent of the country’s GDP.

Most of Africa’s Diaspora includes people living in other African countries. However, a sizable number of Africans live in the United States and a significant migration of Africans exists in former European colonial powers, namely France, England, Netherlands and Italy.

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