United Nations 77th General Assembly (UNGA77) Side Event

“Innovative approaches to integrate the diaspora in accelerating Africa’s economic recovery post COVID-19”

Sep 22 from 8 am to 9:30 am

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Lead Funder

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As of March 2022, 23 African countries were either in debt distress or at high risk of debt distress (UNECA, 2022). At the same time, the pandemic has pushed an estimated 55 million people into poverty, with 30-35 million formal jobs at risk. The latter has invariably reversed the gains in health and education witnessed over the decade preceding the COVID-19 pandemic. These impacts have at the same time been exacerbated by the Ukraine war.
While African trade is rebounding due to economic development activities, increased vaccinations, and easing of restrictions, there is a need to strengthen efforts that diversify sources of growth. What strategies will reduce vulnerabilities and address the health and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic? How do we foster an ecosystem conducive to continued investment in the health sector and other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa? What are the innovative ways of utilising diaspora resources towards improving livelihoods of households and national economies in the countries of origin and destination?
This session examines how Africans in the diaspora represent a powerful constituency and key partner in the economic development of Africa and the U.S. Join the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African Diaspora Network (ADN), and the African Union Commission (AUC) in recognizing a need for an intra-African voice for collaboration and explore new ground to tap into the potential of diaspora investments and how they relate to various frameworks, from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to the AU-endorsed African Diaspora Finance Corporation (ADFC).


Dr. Hanan Morsy

Dr. Hanan Morsy

Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Keynote)

Dr. Morsy has a wealth of experience and vast expertise in leading top policy and development work and building strong partnerships, working at international organisations and private sector. She has published on a wide range of economic development issues and led several major flagship publications. Prior to joining ECA, Ms. Morsy was the Director of Macroeconomic Policy and Research at the African Development Bank between 2018 and 2021, where she provided thought leadership on economic issues and oversaw the production of rigorous analytical work that strengthened the bank’s policy dialogue and operations across its member countries. Ms. Morsy worked previously as Associate Director and Lead Economist for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London between 2012 and 2018. 
Edlam Abera Yemeru

Edlam Abera Yemeru

Director, a.i., Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) (Opening Remarks)

Edlam Abera Yemeru is currently the Director, a.i. of the Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). In this capacity, she leads the delivery of knowledge and technical advisory support to African countries on policies to eradicate extreme poverty and reduce inequality, promote gender equality and women’s empowerment and foster sustainable urbanization. She has also been leading ECA’s Urbanization and Development Section to advance policy and practice to leverage Africa’s urban transition for inclusive growth. Previously, she held positions at UN-Habitat and UNODC, where she led a number of normative and operational programs, and in academic and research institutes including Addis Ababa University, University College London and University of Sussex.

Almaz Negash

Founder and CEO, African Diaspora Network (Moderator)

Almaz Negash is a recognized thought leader and sought-after expert on entrepreneurship, innovation, and investment for international markets, especially high growth African and Diaspora. Leveraging 25 plus years of experience in international trade, business management, and social innovation, Negash is able to build successful partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, including Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, investors and entrepreneurs based in the USA and around the world. As a result, she is named as one of the 100 outstanding Silicon Valley Women of Influence for her work in social innovation. In 2010, Almaz founded African Diaspora Network (ADN) to inform and engage Africans in the diaspora and facilitate direct collaboration with social entrepreneurs, innovators, and business leaders to invest and improve the lives of everyone on the continent.
Angela Naa Afoley Odai

Angela Naa Afoley Odai

Interim Head of Diaspora Division, Directorate of Citizens and Diaspora Organisations (CIDO) of the African Union Commission (Panelist)

Angela Naa Afoley Odai, is the Interim Head of Diaspora Division at the Directorate of Citizens and Diaspora Organisations (CIDO) of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa. Having enjoyed thirteen years of fruitful professional experience as a development expert with experience in Diaspora Engagement, Migration and Development at both national and continental levels, she is currently manning the Continental portfolio by mobilizing, engaging and streamlining the activities of the global African diaspora into the policies and plans of the African Union. Angela has a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Ghana as well as a Master’s degree in Democratic Governance and Civil Society from the University of Osnabrueck, under the Public Policy and Good Governance programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Professor Gibril Faal FRSA, OBE, JP

Director of GK Partners & Visiting Professor in Practice, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (Panelist)

Professor Gibril Faal is the co-founder and director of GK Partners specialising in socially responsible business models, sustainable development and programme implementation. He is a visiting professor in practice at the London School of Economics (LSE), Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa (FLIA). He is also a council member of Carnegie African Diaspora Program and Consultant to the African Union Commission on innovative, development and diaspora finance. In 2003, he founded RemitAid™ as a mechanism to transform remittances into a sustainable form of development finance. In 2017, he initiated the Migration and Sustainable Development in The Gambia project (MSDG) in partnership with the governments of Switzerland and The Gambia.

Kady Sylla

Senior Advisor - Africa, King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS) (Panelist)

Senior Advisor – Africa, King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS) (Panelist) Kady Sylla is Senior Advisor – Africa at the King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS). Kady oversees our Africa partnerships, network-building and programs. Before joining KBFUS, Kady managed grantee relationships, partnerships, strategy development and communications at the Issroff Family Foundation (IFF). At IFF, Kady designed and implemented leadership and organizational capacity strengthening programs, including IFF’s signature “Collaborative Learning Initiative,” and also managed the Tristate Africa Funders Network, a peer learning vehicle. Before IFF, she gained experience managing international development and philanthropic grants, working with public and private institutions like USAID, Open Society Foundations (OSF), and UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

Agenda: UNGA September 2022

7:30 AM

In-Person Registration & Networking Breakfast

8:00 AM

Webinar opens with music

8:05 AM

Welcome & Thank You to Partners

  • Almaz Negash, Founder and Executive Director, African Diaspora Network

  • Edlam Abera Yemeru, Director, a.i., Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • 8:10 AM

    Opening Keynote Speaker (UNECA)

  • Dr. Hanan Morsy, Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
  • 8:25 AM

    Panel Discussion

  • Angela Naa Afoley Odai, Interim Head of Diaspora Division, Directorate of Citizens and Diaspora Organisations (CIDO), African Union Commission