African Diaspora Network and U.S. Department of State Host High-Level Lunch on Diaspora Remittances at U.S. - Africa Leaders Summit

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ADN and US Department of State convened global leaders to discuss strategies for increased diaspora contribution to African growth and development

“The success of Africa will be secured when remittances are no longer needed. We need to look beyond remittances and develop a platform where those in the diaspora can invest in different African countries other than their home country.” - Almaz Negash

On the first day of the U.S. - Africa Leaders Summit, the African Diaspora Network (ADN) and the U.S. Department of State hosted a high-level working lunch to discuss the African Diaspora’s contributions to Africa’s growth and development beyond remittances. The high-level lunch was sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and convened government leaders, African Ministers of Economy and Finance, private sector leaders, and diaspora leaders.

The U.S. Department of State partnered with the African Diaspora Network (ADN) to leverage its expertise in building lasting partnerships that will channel diaspora remittances into productive investments in Africa. The session was held on December 13, 2022, and featured robust discourse on innovative means for harnessing remittances to boost economic development and COVID-recovery on the African continent.

In her opening address, Dorothy McAuliffe, Special Representative for Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State said, “the importance of remittances cannot be overstated or ignored. Remittances from the African Diaspora increased by 6.2% in 2021. At this session, it is important for us as stakeholders to look forward, identify the next steps, and take action to make remittances more productive for Africa.”    

The high-level lunch concluded the African and Diaspora Young Leaders Forum at the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit with a lineup of speakers that included Almaz Negash, Founder and Executive Director, African Diaspora Network; Professor Gibril Faal, Director of GK Partners & Visiting Professor in Practice, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); Semhar Araia, Head, Diaspora Policy, Africa, Middle East and Turkey Public Policy Team Meta; Benjamin Fernandes, CEO, Nala; and Professor Kevin Urama, Chief Economist at African Development Bank (AfDB).

Almaz Negash, Founder of the African Diaspora Network and organizing partner of the lunch, said, “The success of Africa will be secured when remittances are no longer needed. What we need is to look beyond remittances and develop a platform where those in the diaspora can invest in different African countries other than their home country. We also need to reduce the high cost of remitting money to the continent while providing the right tax incentives to the diaspora.”

With the African diaspora being the largest financier of the continent, speakers at the event highlighted the need for stakeholders from government and private sector to make deliberate efforts to address factors that limit remittances to the continent and unlock possibilities for the diaspora to exponentially grow its contribution to sustainable development in Africa. Attendees discussed strategies to de-risk African markets and productively engage the African diaspora to invest back into their communities, how support for diaspora-owned small and medium-sized businesses in the United States in turn benefit African businesses, and the role of public-private partnerships to enable diasporans to go beyond remittances.

The conversation on the role of diaspora remittances in the future of Africa will continue from the 22nd to 24th of March 2023, at the upcoming 8th African Diaspora Investment Symposium (ADIS) in Silicon Valley hosted by ADN. ADIS is a gathering of philanthropists, investors, entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley that inspires and equips participants to be active contributors to the development of Africa and communities in which the diaspora lives. The idea for ADIS was born out of the first U.S. Africa Leaders Summit hosted by President Obama in 2014.

Founded in 2010, African Diaspora Network (ADN) is a Silicon Valley-based nonprofit that promotes entrepreneurship and economic development on the African continent and in the communities where the African diaspora live. We bring together Africans on the continent, in the diaspora, and friends of Africa to actualize their full potential, activate their entrepreneurial spirit, and strategically mobilize financial and intellectual resources to ensure a brighter future for the African continent. Learn more about ADN and the upcoming ADIS event by visiting

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Damilola Aina
Baobab Consulting
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