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Africa to reach out to diaspora

2012-05-23 22:05

Pretoria - Africa will make an effort to reach out to citizens living outside the continent, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Wednesday.

An outcome prioritising a partnership with them was expected at the upcoming Global African Diaspora Summit, she said in Pretoria.

She told a pre-summit gathering in Pretoria that leaders wanted a clear-cut programme of action to harness partnerships and strengthen pan-African solidarity.

"It is Africa's effort to reach out to its sons and daughters out there in other parts of the world, to affirm our collective identity and marshal our forces for a better Africa and a better world," she said.

More than 60 heads of state are expected to attend the summit, which will be hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, on Africa Day (Friday).

Quoting from the African Union (AU) definition, she said the African diaspora referred to "peoples 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".

The minister said the summit would be another opportunity for African leaders to "pick up the spear relayed to us".

"We owe it to future generations to rid our continent of all its challenges."

The high-level meeting of leaders is expected to adopt a set of "legacy projects" which will strengthen the contribution of the diaspora to the continent, which has been plagued by a series of problems and strife.

She said the projects would include an AU Diaspora Volunteer Programme that would "associate the diaspora directly and urgently with the development efforts on the continent and give concrete meaning to the concept of a one African family".