Beyond Remittances, African Diaspora Investment
UN 78th General Assembly Side Event
September 20th, 2023 @ 4pm EST

African Diaspora Investment

Sep 20, 2023 - New York, NY

By invitation only. Please contact if you are interested in attending. 

Lead Funder

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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. 

The time for Africans from the diaspora to go beyond remittances and to engage in collective, high-impact, and sustainable investment practices is now. This, of course, requires diligence to ensure that a legitimate investment platform is used and investments are ethical, contributing to the long-term development and prosperity of Africa. Additionally, diverse investment approaches from the private sector to philanthropic investments and impact investing that values local cultures and customs must be leveraged in collaboration with local stakeholders while conducting thorough due diligence to maximize the likelihood of impactful investments. 
Collaboration with the U.S. government and other stakeholders is key to making impactful investments. The Biden-Harris administration has already taken commendable strides in bolstering support for both the continent’s residents and its diasporans through initiatives such as the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in the US (PAC-ADE). This strategic effort seeks to amplify prospects for the diaspora, reinforce cultural, social, and economic ties within African communities, and encompasses a comprehensive array of programs dedicated to addressing various needs of the African population.  
Join us for a discussion of how Diasporans can support the economic development of Africa beyond remittances to direct investment in local enterprises that will scale their impact both in Africa and globally. 
Questions to Address:   
  • How do we continue to support and enhance African diaspora engagement for investment in their communities and across borders on the continent? 
  • What is the role of the diaspora in scaling up social impact and uplifting communities in Africa?
  • What public-private partnerships can be leveraged to help diasporans go beyond remittances? 
  • How can we in the diaspora take advantage and ownership of the efforts by the U.S. government and other stakeholders?
  • What roles do blended investments play in structuring collective remittances to boost young African entrepreneurs leading social impact, products, and services?
  • What are some of the innovative approaches and investment opportunities that are trending across the continent, and can collective remittances be integrated for maximum impact? 
  • What considerations should be taken to ensure that investments are ethical and contribute to the long-term development and prosperity of Africa?
This session is a part of African Diaspora Network’s ongoing Impact & Innovation Forums on “Beyond Remittances,” dedicated to increasing awareness, engagement, and action on how the diaspora can go beyond remittances to contribute to the betterment of the continent of Africa.

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.

Ms. British A. Robinson

The Hon. Ms. British A. Robinson

Coordinator, Prosper Africa (Keynote Speaker)

Ms. British A. Robinson serves as the Coordinator for Prosper Africa, a Presidential-level, national security initiative to strengthen the strategic and economic partnership between the United States and African countries. In this role, she works with businesses, investors, and government leaders to forge a true 21st Century partnership that creates jobs, diversifies global supply chains, and tackles challenges like climate change and energy transition. At the helm of Prosper Africa, Robinson collaborates closely with the White House National Security Council and the 17 participating U.S. federal agencies, including USAID, to advance the U.S. Government’s Strategy for sub-Saharan Africa, and implements our commitments from the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in December 2022.
Kady Sylla

Kady Sylla

Senior Advisor – Africa, King Baudouin Foundation United States - KBFUS (Context Setter)

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).

Almaz Negash

Founder and Executive Director, African Diaspora Network (Context Setter)

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.

Josh Ghaim, Ph.D.

Founder and Managing Partner, Ignite Venture Studio; Board Chairman, African Diaspora Network (Moderator)

​​Josh Ghaim is the Founder and Managing Partner of Ignite Venture Studio, a new brand and innovation accelerator focused in the Health and Beauty markets as well as investments and support of Women and Minority led start-ups. Prior to his new venture, Josh was the former Chief Technology Officer of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health.
Deniece Laurent-Mantey

Deniece Laurent-Mantey

Special Advisor for U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Implementation, U.S. Department of State (Panelist)

Deniece Laurent-Mantey currently serves as a Special Advisor in the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. In that role, she is responsible for implementation of President Biden’s U.S.- Africa Leaders Summit commitments. From March 2021-June 2022, she served as the Director for Southern Africa and Trade and Investment at the White House National Security Council where she was responsible for U.S. bilateral relations with southern African countries and led the successful relaunch of the Prosper Africa initiative. In July 2023, Laurent-Mantey transitioned to the National Security Council’s lead Director for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit where she led over 18 U.S. government agencies and coordinated with various stakeholders to implement and execute President Biden’s priorities and commitments for the 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.
“Tonton” Ali Diallo

“Tonton” Ali Diallo

VC, Venture Builder, Impact Leader, Serial Entrepreneur (Panelist)

“Tonton” Ali Diallo is a Silicon Valley-based Venture Capitalist (VC), a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, and an award-winning venture builder (10 startups and 2 exits) with deep expertise in contrarian innovation and in sustainable capitalism which combines profit, purpose, and planet. He is the Managing Director of NOVA Prime Fund, a VC fund he launched in partnership with LG Electronics and Clearbrook. He also co-founded United Capital, a Dubai-based group that accelerates the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through large-scale investments, government partnerships, and global industrial projects; Aurion Capital, an investment holding company that builds a connected and sustainable future through a portfolio of 2 funds and 40 startups; and RISE (Resilient Investments for Sustainable Economies), a global coalition of investors, corporations, and principled leaders that are uniting to drive systems changes and economic impact across emerging economies.
Pedro De Vasconcelos

Pedro De Vasconcelos

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’. 

Ramatoulaye Diallo

Ramatoulaye Diallo

Founder and CEO, Great Green Wall of Africa (GGWoA) Foundation (Conversation Starter)

Ramatoulaye Diallo, a Malian (Mali) citizen, is the founder and CEO of Great Green Wall of Africa (GGWoA) Foundation. A foundation that was founded in 2022 with the aim to facilitate sustainable developments and climate actions in Africa, leveraging its core capability, which is Arts and Culture. The foundation has been instrumental in pushing the agenda to materialize the plans of major initiatives, which are part of Africa’s mission to combat Climate Change. The foundation was officially launched by President Olusegun Obasanjo who is the Grand Patron of the foundation at the US-Africa Leaders Summit last year. Prior to GGWoA Foundation, Ramatoulaye Diallo was a Special Adviser to the UAE for Expo 2020 where she led the agendas for African Union and Francophone African countries.