1st African Diaspora Expert Meeting, 5-7 March, Eschborn
African diaspora organisations from 26 European countries gathered for the first time last week in Germany to share their views, discuss strategies and build alliances for the establishment of a European-wide African diaspora platform for the development of Africa (http://www.ae-platform.org). A total of 50 participants from both continents celebrated the launch of the Africa-Europe Platform project, which aims to enhance cooperation and coordination among African diaspora organisations in Europe. An interactive and inclusive programme framed the three-day conference which was held in the GIZ premises in Eschborn from 05-07 of March.
Presentations on tools developed to facilitate the platform building process, panel discussions, and keynote speeches targeting challenges and best practices of network building shaped the vivid discussions among participants. Plenary and working group sessions, coffee breaks, meals and evenings became arenas for formal and informal exchange where advice, concerns and opinions on platform building were voiced. By inviting government and civil society representatives from the project’s five pilot countries in Africa, namely, Cameroon, Angola, Senegal, Morocco and Ethiopia, first steps were taken towards more efficient cooperation not only among diaspora organisations but also between these organisations and their counterparts in Africa.
“If we are strong in Europe, our ability to develop Africa grows”. Dr. Gibril Faal’s statement summarized both the rationale for platform building and the need to strengthen this process in the future. To this end and with the involvement of the diaspora actors present, the constitution of the platform will be developed in the coming months. It was highlighted, however, that the creation of a legal basis has to go hand in hand with the implementation of activities which provide services to the diaspora. These conclusions were directly put into practice during the meeting where an advisory board on questions of platform-building was founded. The service and capacity building aspects of the project were attended to via a training on networking, alliance building and policy engagement on the final day of the conference.
Technical support for the processes initiated through the Expert Meeting is provided by the African Diaspora Policy Centre (ADPC), the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD), the Coordination Générale des Migrants pour le Developpement (CGMD), the Forum des organisations de la solidarité internationale issues de migrations (FORIM) and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). The EC, GIZ, Swiss and Dutch project donors have tasked the five partner organisations with guiding the process towards the establishment of a sustainable platform until the end of 2013.
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