The role of the diaspora in knowledge transfer to start-up projects and entrepreneurship.

Event:  Pan African HR eConference

Date:  Thursday, 15 October 2020 at 14:00 hours

Introduction

The African Union defines the African Diaspora as “Consisting of people of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union.”

Therefore, and in accordance with this definition the African Diaspora can play a crucial role in supporting development and economic growth on the continent.

Although there are many issues which are affecting the African entrepreneurial climate I would like to focus on 3 main issues:

  • Lack of competence
  • Lack of capital and
  • Poor governance

How can we tackle the first issue of lack of competence?

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We can tackle the lack of competence issue by creating a knowledge network by which Diasporans effectively become agents for the transfer of knowledge. As agents for the transfer of knowledge, diasporans share not only their  advanced educational backgrounds and experiences but also their social networks creating  economic, financial, and political connections between their host country and their country of origin. 

How can we tackle the second issue of lack of capital?

According to an article written by She Leads Africa,  the World Bank estimates that  there are 39 million Africans in North America, 113 million in Latin America, 13.6 million in the Caribbean, and 3.5 million in Europe. These well-educated professionals together send over 40 billion US dollars in remittances to Africa every year .

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How are these statistics related to the lack of capital issue facing startup projects?  In essence, the 40 billion US dollars  being sent to the continent every year can essentially be repurposed; thereby establishing the Diaspora as  a viable source of capital for the incubation of start ups and other projects.    In essence, we begin to invest in each other, teach each other and believe in each other.

How can we tackle the third issue of poor governance?

We can tackle the issue of poor governance by encouraging governments to develop and deploy a combination of policy frameworks designed to establish suitable business environments and encourage diaspora investors to invest  technically and financially in startup projects for economic growth.

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In essence, African governments should utilize the diaspora and all its associated tangible and intangible resources as  tools for socio economic development in order to create real impact.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the diaspora and diaspora networks play a crucial role in bringing knowledge and funds to African startups. Therefore, it is essential that Government, the private sector and other stakeholders collaborate with the diaspora to facilitate the transfer of its knowledge and capital  to the African entrepreneurship community.

Speaker/Presenter:  Yolanda Asumu, Founder of iCUBEFARM, President of the iCUBEFARM Foundation  and promoter of the Africa HR Forum

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