The growing flux of people, resources, culture, money and data between Africa and Europe will increase the shared space between them. EurAfrican geographies represent shared cross-border networks going beyond physical frontiers to encompass Europe and Africa’s most valuable physical and human resources. In parallel, today’s demographic challenge in Europe and Africa, coupled with a rapid and global technological transformation, promise new forms of jobs, and requires new employability skills for the future. By consolidating their education systems, sharing knowledge and innovation, Europe and Africa can create new ways of learning, and innovating, for younger generations to be better equipped.
Migrations: the pros for both continents
The migration crisis that Europe and Africa are facing today is the tragedy of our times that generations from now people will look back and don’t understand how this could have happened. The long-term solution starts by recognizing the wealth of diversity of people with different kinds of cultures, traditions, knowledge and experiences. The African Diaspora could contribute to this topic by led European countries to discuss these stories and the more people are aware of them, the more open minded they become to this flux of people and movement because then they understand the value of it. Social media enabled and improved this storytelling process.
Besides the ‘brain drain’ concept, there is also a ‘brain gain’ taking place with African migrations once people who are leaving Africa are also contributing for their home countries from the outside. Many of the people in Diaspora have very high skills, a huge network and most of them also have a disposable income, meaning they can invest and some of them can also set up funds. Each African country can find someone from the Diaspora who has expertise in some specific area and being a native from that country it allows a better intervention because they understand the culture, speak both languages and have networks in both areas.
How can diasporas change the narrative?
Europe needs Africa and Africa needs Europe and to meet these needs in the most beneficial progressive, wealthy way. There is a need to build trust between both continents. Although there is a troubled and problematic past, there have also been examples of mutual collaborations throughout the history of relationships between Africa and Europe. One of the key obstacles to forging beneficial partnerships between Europe and Africa, that are based on trust and mutuality, is unclear language. And the African Diaspora or Europeans of African heritage are especially good at communicating in ways that are professional and inclusive.
As member of a diaspora, the first step to help mobilizing diasporas and to contribute to Africa’s development is to share networks to connect people and to facilitate business. It is a duty to use the networks at the service of young entrepreneurs. Connecting African heroes and celebrating them is a way to brand what they have created, so people rush to invest in them.
It is also a duty for people in Diasporas to be ambassadors of their continent, in their countries, because there’s so many ways they can help or support our growth. Being an ambassador to Africa is to capitalize and honor the value of Africans in Europe, the African Diaspora.
They speak not the only language in a linguistic sense, but the culture language so they understand the trends, the tastes in art, film, music, fashion and literature, they understand social norms, gender relations, counter-culture, cyber culture and they speak these languages proficiently. That has a huge value when it comes to building bridges and coalitions, whether it’s to do with entrepreneurship or culture or technology. It’s about focusing on a potential, looking at the opportunity and working together. They belong to two worlds and have interest to make it work. It’s not charity for them to be involved on both sides because they have been integrated, they understand what’s working. They also know if that same potential is not being unlocked on the continent they are going to continue to see people coming in the boards and some of them dying for vein death, which can be prevented. It’s about working together to unlock the potential, investing in innovation, homegrown innovation and true technology transfer and investment is the way to go.
Africa is an opportunity only if investment is made in people, it will bring a great return. About the way media perceives the African Diaspora and African migrants, it takes courage to tell the truth about Africa, it takes courage to change the narrative. And that’s why people join together to share a true and fair version of Africa.