Diasporans represent a powerful constituency in the economic development of Africa. The World Bank records over $52 billion USD sent to and within Africa in 2022. The magnitude of these remittances strongly reflects the commitment of Africans in the diaspora to participate in the economic development of the continent. Diasporans are the largest investors in Africa by a fair margin, yet the collective amplifying impact and potential of remittances at scale and across borders remain limited.
Stepping beyond the realm of remittances, the African Diaspora Network (ADN) envisions a pivotal stride forward—directly investing in African startups. Over the past decade, Africa has seen a huge rise in startups in the social, product and service sectors, real estate, and several other infrastructure projects. By providing blended and various forms of capital, the African diaspora can stimulate economic growth and create employment opportunities at scale. Investments in myriad forms, whether philanthropic or for-profit are not new to the diaspora. In fact, the diaspora has been critical to Africa’s economic development alongside the creative engagement and strategic collaboration of Africans, African diasporans, and friends of Africa. This is evident in the value of the $95.6 billion remitted in 2021 according to the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
Additionally, Africans in the diaspora possess valuable knowledge, skills, and expertise they can share through mentorship programs, workshops, or by participating in business partnerships. Diasporans recognize the immense talent and intellect on the continent and only need a channel through which they can share their resources.
Opportunities to Explore: This panel discussion examines innovative approaches to Diaspora engagement beyond remittances and approaches to sustainable investment. Our goal is to find ways to encourage the diaspora to tap into their savings and scale investments in infrastructure, education, healthcare, housing, employment, and essential determinants of health in Africa.
Entrepreneurship and Business Ventures: Africans in the diaspora can start their own businesses or support local entrepreneurs in Africa. They can bring innovative ideas, technology, and management practices to create sustainable enterprises. Additionally, they can serve as role models for aspiring entrepreneurs and provide guidance on establishing and scaling businesses.
Diaspora Investment Networks: Africans in the diaspora can form investment networks or join existing ones that focus on Africa. These networks facilitate collaboration, information sharing, and joint investments. By pooling resources and knowledge, they can amplify their impact and mitigate risks associated with investing in Africa.
Philanthropy and Impact Investing: Africans in the diaspora can engage in philanthropic activities and impact investing that address social and developmental challenges in Africa. They can support initiatives in sectors such as education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development. Diasporans can achieve this through donations, grants, or impact investments in social enterprises.
Building Partnerships: Africans in the diaspora can actively seek partnerships with local organizations, governments, and institutions in Africa. By establishing connections and fostering collaborations, they can identify investment opportunities, gain local insights, and navigate the business environment more effectively.
Policy and Advocacy: Africans in the diaspora can advocate for policies that promote investment and economic development in Africa. They can engage with policymakers, participate in forums, or join advocacy groups to raise awareness about the potential of investing in Africa and address any challenges or barriers.
Coordinator, Prosper Africa (Keynote Speaker)
Senior Advisor – Africa, King Baudouin Foundation United States - KBFUS (Context Setter)
Founder and Executive Director, African Diaspora Network (Context Setter)
Founder and Managing Partner, Ignite Venture Studio; Board Chairman, African Diaspora Network (Moderator)
Special Advisor for U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Implementation, U.S. Department of State (Panelist)
VC, Venture Builder, Impact Leader, Serial Entrepreneur (Panelist)
Programme Manager, Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR), Lead Senior Technical Specialist on Remittances, Migration and Inclusive Finance, IFAD (Panelist)
Pedro De Vasconcelos is the Programme Manager of IFAD’s multi-donor Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR) and Lead Senior Technical Specialist on remittances, migration and inclusive finance. The US$62 million Facility, under his leadership, tests and scales innovative approaches on migration and economic development by maximizing the impact of remittances and migrant investment in migrants’ communities of origin. Mr De Vasconcelos has over 20 years of internationally recognized expertise in this field and contributes actively to national, regional and global policy agendas supporting the inclusion of remittances, migration, financial inclusion. In addition, he is also the originator and coordinator of IFAD’s UN-mandated International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR) and the Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development (GFRID), and lead author of RemitSCOPE market intelligence portal and the biannual IFAD flagship publication ‘Sending Money Home’.
Founder and CEO, Great Green Wall of Africa (GGWoA) Foundation (Conversation Starter)