The Global African Diaspora Summit
23 - 25 May 2012
The Global African Diaspora Summit was held on Africa Day at the Sandton Convention Centre. The summit, which was attended by 64 heads of state, was hosted by the African Union (AU) in partnership with the South African Government and takes place under the theme Towards the Realisation of a United and Integrated Africa and its Diaspora.
The summit was preceded by an African Diaspora Ministerial Meeting at the OR Tambo Building, Department of International Relations and Cooperation Head Office in Pretoria on 23 May 2012.
The AU has defined 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".
Historians estimate that between the years 1500 and 1900, approximately four million enslaved Africans were transported to island plantations in the Indian Ocean, about eight million were shipped to Mediterranean-area countries, and about 11 million survived the Middle Passage to the New World.
In 2003, the first AU Extra-Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States decided to integrate the African Diaspora into the policy framework of the AU. This was done by amending the Constitutive Act, to provide a new article that invites and provides full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of the continent.
The amendment has not yet come into force owing to inadequate ratification. At its eighth Ordinary Session in 2006, the AU Executive Council took Decision EX.CL/269 (VIII) on the African Diaspora initiative. This decision also endorsed South Africa to host the first Global African Diaspora Summit. The hosting of this summit is to be done in cooperation with the AU Commission on behalf of the AU.
The summit aims to create sustainable partnerships between the African Diaspora and the African continent through a realisable Programme of Action; create sustainable dialogue and partnerships; strengthen Pan-African solidarity for a better Africa and the Diaspora; and promote South-South cooperation in the betterment of the African continent and the Diaspora.
The strategic benefit for South Africa and the continent will be to foster Pan-African unity and carry out South Africa's foreign imperative of implementing the principle of the African Agenda. The concrete outcome expected will be to attain greater societal involvement in the areas of the:
- African Skills Database
- African Diaspora Investment Fund (Private Equity Fund)
- African Institute of Remittances
- Volunteer Corps Programme (reconstructive interventions on afflicted areas)
- Market Place Development Programme (economic intervention towards innovation and entrepreneurship involving women and youth).
Statements and advisories
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