Project Diaspora (PD) is a non-profit founded in September 2007 with a simple mission—to promote African diaspora engagement in sustainable economic activities within Africa. PD actively seeks to mobilize, engage, and motivate members of the African diaspora to participate in Africa’s economic, social, and cultural renaissance. Looking beyond the $40 billion in annual remittances to the continent, Africa’s diaspora is well positioned to become a major developmental force. Apart from capital assets, the strongest resources the African diaspora possess are its vast wealth of knowledge, technical expertise and professional network. Paired with their cultural and personal ties to their home communities there is no other single group that is better equiped to generate positive, sustained change across the continent.
Diaspora-led economic development projects differ from traditional developmental aid in several areas. Firstly, engaging members of the diaspora to lead or contribute to projects ensures local buy-in reinforced by cultural ties. Secondly, members of the diaspora have a greater vested interest in the success of a project than an aid worker on a limited engagement. Finally, and most importantly, diaspora led economic development breaks the “hand-out” mentality fostered by traditional aid. Social entrepreneurship empowers local communities to sustainably solve their own development problems.
Africa’s development can not continue to depend on international NGO programs and developmental aid, powered by global sympanthy. PD’s approach to Africa’s development goes well beyond reliance on aid by advocating for Africa’s self-reliance. By leveraging the knowledge and commitment of the diaspora, Africa’s future will be firmly placed in its own hands.