It’s Time to Invest in Africa – Ambassador Chihombori-Quao


The immediate past African Union Ambassador to North America, H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, has thrown an open invitation to Africans in the diaspora to invest in Africa. The former diplomat is convinced that sustainable change will come to Africa through the coordinated and concerted efforts of its diaspora. She made this assessment as the keynote speaker at the ““#2020Prosperity” event organized by the Africa 400” at the Hollywood Blue Ribbon Restaurant in Hillside, New Jersey, on January 31, 2020. She said the former chairperson of the African Union Commission, Madame Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, who facilitated her appointment to Washington, DC,not only charged her to promote Africa in her new assignment, but also gave her the mandate to mobilize the diaspora to participate in the development of Africa. She pointed out that Africa is confronted with multifaceted challenges that the continent needs to prioritize and fight one at a time: “We must fight as Africans. We can either make a decision to fight them all at the same time and lose all of them, or we could prioritize and decide which battles are to be fought first, to be tackled one at a time, and win all the battles over time.” She philosophized that the problem of Africa is like a diseased tree that can be salvaged by getting to its roots. “We must find the stem of Africa’s dilemma to fully understand its illness and prescribe the right remedies,” she added.  

The one-time medical practitioner observed that even though Africans in the diaspora and on the continent suffer from the legacies of slavery and colonialization, it is high time they unmute their voices and foster continued dialogue within and among their own communities. “How long are we going to sleep? How much do you get along with other Africans in your neighborhood?” she rhetorically asked.  She insinuated that it is unconscionable for Africans to not patronize African businesses, and suggested that black people would have to effect changes themselves because no one will do it for them. She warned that it is about time Africans “change the image in the mirror.”

The motivational speaker remarked that Africa’s continuous reliance on foreign aid, loans, and alms is premised under colonial masters’ strategy of perpetual economic dependence.  Africa, she lamented, continues to create jobs and wealth for the western world but not for itself. Roadblocks are placed on Africa’s products any time attempts are made to add value to its mineral resources. She accused outside forces of intentionally creating internal strife, conflicts, and instabilities in African countries where natural resources abound. 

According to Ambassador Chihombori-Quao, even though about $50B of corrupt money is siphoned from Africa each year by its corrupt leaders, politicians, businesspeople, and others, France alone takes away about $500B annually. Foreign multinational businesses also take a chunk of the pie from Africa. Ironically, these entities turn around and accuse Africa of not being able to develop its countries. “We have been running away from the bigger issue to concentrate on the smaller one.” She quickly made clear that her comparative analysis by no means implies that she excuses corruption in Africa.

She said there is light at the end of the tunnel with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which takes effect in July of this year. The continent, however, needs capacity building to fully enjoy the fruits of the trade agreement. She cited the inability of the continent to be self-sufficient in food, even though Africa has about 65% arable lands. Africa imports rice, chicken, maize, and several other foods that it could and should be able to produce.  “Come back and invest in Africa,” she invited. The straight-talking ambassador believes that the only people who can protect Africa and bring what is needed to build a sustainable Africa are those of the diaspora.

To this end, the Africa Diaspora Development Institute (ADDI) is being formed to serve as one-stop shopping for everything African, with offices in every country where access to the diaspora will be within reach. She urged all Africans in the diaspora to register and be part of the ADDI. A diaspora investment fund (not a donation fund) will be created and serve as a catalyst to develop Africa. “We ourselves must be in the drivers’ seat to develop Africa,” she charged.

Posted by on Feb 6 2020. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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