The African Diaspora challenged to develop the continent

Professor Mandivamba Rukuni addresses delegates at the AASW6 conference on Monday.

Professor Mandivamba Rukuni addresses delegates at the AASW6 conference on Monday.

Africans living in the Diaspora have been challenged to make use of their expertise to develop the African continent.

Prof Mandivamba Rukuni, director of Barefoot Education for Africa Trust, said Africans in the diaspora have the potential to grow the economy and transform the agricultural sector. With a theme dubbed ‘Mobilizing the Diaspora for agriculture transformation’ during the FARA 6th Agriculture Science Week in Accra, Ghana, he affirmed that Africa could be on top of the world in 50 years if it defends its interests.

“Africa has the potential to make a difference and be on the top of the world owing to its impressive resources. It needs to pay much attention to its priorities and engage citizens living in other countries to make that dream a reality,’’ said Rukuni. He urged African countries to value their resources, noting that the growth of an economy is intertwined with the availability of land, mines, forests and water sources.

“Africa does not realize the real value of our resources. These are our gold mines for technology, markets, jobs and capital. We should not be selling them to foreigners at throw away prices and later regretting it,’’ he advised.

Africans  in the Diaspora were also challenged to help support institutions back home and offer their knowledge on how best to eradicate poverty and reduce heavy borrowing for funds by Africa nations. He advised them to develop structuring and deal-making possibilities for their nations and to see opportunities where others can’t.

“We need to be self sustainable as African nations. It is high time we woke up from slumber and realize that two decades ago China was unknown, yet now it’s leading in almost every sector,’’ he observed.

Recapturing of African data in Diaspora is mandatory in order to achieve global competitiveness, Rukuni noted. Additionally, he asked Africa nations to encourage youth to embrace agriculture and mobilize all stakeholders around a common agenda: the development of the continent.

Promoting regional integration and coordination are the pathways to making Africa economically, socially and politically present in the world. “Agriculture is the backbone to the political agenda of any country.  I believe Africa, too, can achieve this goal with the right policies and strategies for its nations and citizens,’’ said Rukuni.

According to Rukuni, Africa’s weakness is that it cannot envision itself without governments and donors. He reiterated that Africa needs to uphold its brand locally and abroad–only then can it really come into its own.

Blogpost by Grace Wekesa, a social reporter for AASW6.

Photo: G. Wekesa

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