The time has come for a Big Hairy Audacious City-Building Goal by the African Diaspora aimed at Catalyzing UN SDG Goal-Keeping in Africa.
About 2 weeks ago, I issued a call to action in an article I wrote titled “A Call To Action: The Coronavirus as the Deus ex Machina for African Diaspora Capital Formation. Since then, African Diaspora Nation has reached out to the most influential African Diaspora Organizations in Europe – The African Foundation for Development(AFFORD), the reputable African Diaspora Network(ADN) in the US and the leadership of the influential Ethiopian Diaspora – a shining star in diaspora Capital mobilization- and the response.. the synthesis of a shared vision and the collaborative spirit has been nothing short of amazing.
When the post – World War 2 global economic order was being architected in 1945, African Diaspora remittances- about 60 billion dollars in 2019 – to Africa did not exceed foreign direct investment like we have today. The organizational capability of the African Diaspora did not have as much depth, sophistication and scale as we have today. The Covid 19 pandemic has exposed the need and urgency for a new global architecture and the time has come for the African Diaspora to set for itself some big hairy and audacious goals that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.. Goals that sharpen our voice, engender innovation/creativity and facilitate building of organizational capability underpinned by a strong entrepreneurial ethos.
The United Nations SDGs are ultimately about liberating the human spirit – an aspiration that is common to all of humanity, so there is an inherent sense of urgency attached to Vision 2030. For the African Diaspora, this sense of urgency has been further amplified by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and the unique window that has been opened – by Coronavirus(COVID 19) pandemic – to help shape the architecture of a new global economic order based on social and economic justice.
It is against this backdrop that global African Diaspora leaders drawn from the African Foundation for Development based in the UK, African Diaspora Network based in California , the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund and African Diaspora Nation based in Atlanta will converge on a platform for a Virtual Ideathon on African Diaspora Capital Formation on Tuesday, May 5th 2020. See flyers below.
Based on my initial conversations with these leaders, I predict that the narrative that we co-create as the African Diaspora -Post Covid 19 – won’t be the story of how remittances to Africa registered a sharp drop but the story of how various entities within the African Diaspora came together against the backdrop of the pandemic to co-create a big hairy audacious goal of City Building that ultimately advances the liberation of the human/african spirit along the measurable dimensions of the UN SDGs – All this within a win-win framework for the diversity of African Diaspora constituents and Africans.BHAG is a concept developed in the book Built to Last. A BHAG (pronounced “Bee Hag,” short for “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”) is a powerful way to stimulate progress. A BHAG is clear and compelling, needing little explanation; people get it right away. Think of the NASA moon mission of the 1960s. The best BHAGs require both building for the long term AND exuding a relentless sense of urgency: What do we need to do today, with monomaniacal focus, and tomorrow, and the next day, to defy the probabilities and ultimately achieve our BHAG?
Early Effect of the BHAG on African Diaspora Ecosystem Building
I am already seeing the positive effect of the BHAG on African Diaspora Nation. It has imposed upon us a “demand”, a sense of urgency and resolve to build organizational capability required for African Diaspora Capital formation, project development and execution.
It is informing the strategic partnerships that we seek to build with AFFORD, African Diaspora Network, UNDP, HBCU Africa Education Consortium and UN Habitat, governments and traditional leaders in Africa.
One desired outcome from the Virtual Ideathon is a Joint African Diaspora Capital Formation Task Force on Covid 19 that comes up with a win- win response framework that addresses the intersection of pain points of the African Diaspora and pain points in the African economic ecosystem. With a crystal clear understanding of these pain points the task force will explore intersectional domains where transcendent value can be envisioned and therefore engineered for mutual benefit within a social enterprise framework. Multi-pronged solutions will be designed to reach out to the African Diaspora taking into account it’s diversity and complexity.
The African diaspora contributes about 60 Billion dollars in remittances to Africa every year; it is possible and urgent to restructure a portion of this capacity for sustainable vehicles of development finance.
According to an African Union report, if 1% of annual African migrant savings of USD33.7 Billion is invested in Africa, this will mean an inflow of USD337m. Furthermore, if 1% of the 40 million members of the African Diaspora in North America invests $1,000 in Africa, there will be an annual inflow of another USD400m. In this Covid-19 era we have the greatest opportunity to even double these projections in all categories. This demonstrates the viability of an innovative approach to unlock the sustainable development potential of pooled Diaspora Capital. The data is on our side… let’s get on with it.
Join the conversation by registering at www.Africandiasporanation.org