AfDB’s Former President Urges Continent’s Diaspora to Return
African Development Bank (AfDB) former President, Babacar N’Diaye, on 24 May 2010, urged qualified members of the continent’s Diaspora to return to their countries of origin. He however advised those working in international organizations to continue plying their trade in those institutions where certain important decisions are taken, stressing that their presence in those organizations could influence decisions concerning their countries.
“When I see doctors, professors and others out there, I say to myself that favorable conditions could be created for their return to their respective countries. It is necessary to provide appropriate work environments and salaries to this qualified people for them to ply their trade in their countries where there is sometimes a lack of qualified staff, especially doctors, professors, etc.,” he said during a workshop held on the theme : “Mobilizing Africa’s Diaspora for Capacity Building and Development: National and Sub-regional Approaches to Fragile States.”
The deliberations, which are taking place within the framework of the 45th Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank whose official opening takes place on May 26, 2010, in Abidjan, have brought together experts from several countries – United States, France, England, India, China, South Korea as well as African countries - to share experiences.
Speakers at the event, experts shared their experiences on the mobilization of their Diaspora during the 1950-1960 period and even today for their countries’ development. According to testimonies, the Diaspora plays a key role in the building of certain countries. In South Korea, for example, the country’s Diaspora in Japan and the United States played a key role in the country’s industrialization. That is a good example for fragile states that are in search of economic and financial equilibrium.
Generally, people flee their countries because of war, poverty, bad governance, corruption, dictatorship and other reasons whose eradication could help the continent’s Diaspora return; a Diaspora that is making a great contribution to the economies of their host countries.
For those who may not return for one reason or the other, participants called on their countries of origin to encourage them to transfer funds which should be put to good use.
Mr. N’Diaye even advised that the Diaspora should be granted certain privileges for the services they are rendering to their countries. “For immigrants who remit money to their countries, counterpart and accompanying funds should be provided to motivate them to create economic development projects which could attract them and help connect them to their countries of origin,” he said.