The Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA) received communication from the African Diaspora Alliance (AfDA), through the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), proposing an African Diaspora Summit (ADS), as a follow up to the Africa Diaspora Symposium held in Nairobi, Kenya in December, 2020.  The proposed Summit was scheduled to take place in Abuja, Nigeria in June/July 2022, and the DTCA, in partnership with NiDCOM, were requested to co-organize it.

Activities towards the hosting of the Symposium commenced from December 2021, with an inaugural Local Organizing Committee meeting of about seven attendees, held at the instance of the Global Organizing Committee Chair, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote on the 20th December, 2021 at the Pearls Learning Hub, Durumi District, Area 1, Garki, Abuja.  After this meeting, more members were conscripted into the Committee drawn from the organizing partners and the private sector and the group was further organized into sub-committees for proper function, delineation of tasks and distribution of assignments/responsibilities to the different subcommittees for the purpose of shared responsibility. The sub-committees created were:

-       Technical Sub-committee;

-       Logistics Sub-committee; and

-       Finance and Partnership Sub-committee.

With the various sub-committees in place, several other meetings were held with tasks and responsibilities assigned to the sub-committees and the Logistics Sub-committee was further subdivided into:

-       Media & Publicity;

-       Security & Protocol; and

-       Accommodation & Transportation.

-       Welfare & Health

In the course of its meetings, it was finally agreed that the programme should be called the Global African Diaspora Symposium while the proposed theme was “Africa and African Diaspora: Connection for a Stronger Africa Agenda” to be held on the 26th of July, 2022. It however became obvious that the proposed date for the Symposium was not feasible and it was agreed to postpone the planned Symposium to 2023.  It was instead agreed that a hybrid Planning Workshop be held on the earlier proposed date of 26th July, 2022. The Planning Workshop was then organized and hosted at Pearls Learning Hub, Durumi District, Area 1, Abuja, on the 26th of July, 2022, with both physical and virtual attendees.

Just before the Workshop, a team from the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) led by the Assistant Secretary General, Department of Political Affairs, Dr. Nobert Richard Ibrahim paid a visit to some government agencies in Abuja, including the DTCA and NiDCOM, and leveraged on the visit to attend the Planning Workshop.  Their valuable contributions further gave the planning a broader scope and enabled the buy-in of the OACPS as an organizing partner. At the same meeting, the date for the event was set at 27th and 28th of April, 2023, in Abuja, Nigeria.

With a total of twenty-six (26) virtual, physical and hybrid meetings, including the Planning Workshop, held, the Committee, which commenced with just seven (7) members, expanded to a total of about forty (40) members who worked assiduously towards the planning and execution of the event.  Some of its members were drawn from the global Diaspora while others were physically on ground as Local Organizing Committee for the execution of plans and decisions reached at the various meetings.

The membership of the Global Organizing Committee was drawn from the African Diaspora Alliance (AfDA), Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFB&NP), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), and others from the private sector.

The Global African Diaspora Symposium with the theme: “Building Stronger Connections between Africa and the Global Diaspora”, successfully took place from the 27th – 28th April, 2023 at the Conference Hall of the Aso Rock Villa, State House, Abuja.

A total of 296 Participants were physically in attendance and hundreds more in virtual participation at the 2-day Symposium, with hundreds more participating virtually drawn from over sixty-four (64) different countries of the world. Some of these countries included; Australia, Belgium, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger Republic, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe.

The 2-Day event focused on the following sector strategic areas: Health; Education & Youth Development; Agriculture; Tourism & Culture; Science & Technology; Manufacturing & Industry; Green Energy and Technology; Information Communication Technology; and Energy & Infrastructure Development.

The Symposium was designed to address and proffer workable solutions to Africa's most pressing issues and offer concrete strategies as well as necessary partnerships between key Diaspora leaders in business and the professions with leaders on the African continent, to achieve successful results.  The Symposium sought to create an interface between Africa and its Diaspora to maximize partnership and collaboration.

The 2-day Global African Diaspora Symposium (GADS) Abuja 2023 provided a platform for experts and stakeholders to discuss issues related to Diaspora Home Return, Building and Sustaining Africa's Self-Reliance, The Green Imperative for Africa in the 21st Century, and African Solutions to Africa's Challenges.

The Symposium was adjudged a huge success by participants at the event, despite all the bottle necks and uncertainty experienced during the planning stage. The outcome has shown that Africa can achieve her dream of a better, self-reliant and sustainable continent if we join hands and work together, particularly with the conscious and purposeful engagement of the Diaspora.

It was evident to participants that the Symposium generated the impetus for the ongoing process of fostering effective engagement between the Diaspora and local actors in Africa. This has been initiated through ongoing dialogue, building personal relationships, and prioritizing transparency and accountability in development initiatives by emphasizing a shared culture of collaboration, mutual respect, and responsibility for sustainable development efforts.

There was also renewed motivation towards enabling the African Diaspora to have a central role in shaping sustainable development initiatives in Africa by ensuring that Diaspora-led organizations and networks are supported to lead and implement development projects in partnership with local actors, rather than being relegated to a secondary role. This approach can help to ensure that the perspectives, experiences, and expertise of the Diaspora are fully harnessed and used to drive sustainable development efforts in Africa.

The Symposium secured a commitment by African countries to create enabling policy environment that recognizes the role of the African Diaspora in sustainable development across the continent, and to do more to develop policies that support Diaspora engagement, including the creation of Diaspora-focused initiatives, streamlined investment procedures, and support for Diaspora-led organizations and networks. The Symposium produced valuable policy recommendations and follow-up activities for effective implementation towards achieving the laudable objectives set out ab initio.

The Symposium agreed to reconvene next year, 2024, in Kampala, Uganda for a mid-term review of the progress so far on the conclusions of the Symposium, while the next Global African Diaspora Symposium (GADS) 2025 was proposed to hold in Kingston, Jamaica.

It is hoped that the recommendations contained in the Symposium Communiqué would be utilized by relevant stakeholders and that African leaders would take necessary steps to harmonize the process of engaging with the Diaspora for a better and stronger continent.