Africa and Africans in the Diaspora

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February 5, 2013 By Mary Ajoke Akangbe

I presently feel like an ambassador of the great continent of Africa.

I have attended a couple of meetings in the last few weeks with the title “Africa” this and that. They are both unique in their aims, both differing greatly in the area of relevance and how much power we have over the execution. The first one was courtesy of Ida and it was, well, a political gathering. Not knowing what to expect, I decided I would observe, take it all in and analyse. The aim? To explore and discuss how the government can proactively include issues that are relevant to Africa and Africans in their manifestos.

The second was more about Africans for Africa; how we motivate each other and generations to come both at home and in the diaspora. I am sure you are right there with me now.

The first meeting was well attended, beyond the organiser’s expectations -a positive indication that we are beginning to take ourselves and our motherland seriously. Lots of important issues were raised such as education, AIDS, immigration, African youth, the role and impact of the government on civil wars etc.

Intelligent and thought provoking discussions, as expected from a gathering of Africans, ensued overall making it quite an experience.

One common bone of contention, and rightly so, was that none of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) MPs turned up for the panel, the organisers had valid reasons for that and those that were present including the counsellors did a good job. My only concern is that the outcome and fruitfulness is largely dependent on the outcome of the next elections ~ so folks over to you.

I went to the second meeting full of expectations, the line-up was awesome and the turn out impressive. All the speakers turned up and then some. The spotlight was on a real and tangible contributions to healthcare and Mr. Samurai hit a nerve when he said, “let us start telling our own stories – positive, empowering and full of natural resources Africa, instead of how we are being portrayed at the moment – helpless, hopeless, dying with a begging bowl”, which we addressed in this forum recently.  The same people lap up in luxury in Africa, exploring our natural resources and price the indigenes out as I observed when I went to Liberia.

It was encouraging to hear so many Africans of the diaspora talk about what they are doing to raise our profile here and contribute to progress back at home as well, which we agreed to call “turning brain drain to brain gain.” Yours sincerely also highlighted some clinical work that we do all over Africa. I will be doing a full write up on this meeting later. Ms. Bradwell lit up the room with her infectious enthusiasm and we closed with a challenging question from Sam Onigbanjo: “If not now-when? If not me-who?”

Having been to both meetings, set up in the best interest of Africa and Africans of the diaspora, I can only come to one conclusion: “When the government comes to the realization that we are serious about “brain gain”- they will begin to take Africans and Africa seriously”.

Watch this space.

Mary A. Akangbe-Author~ Gifts,roses and bruises and CEO/Founder~GlowingFuture

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