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Weak African Diaspora Weak Impact on Homeland

Where does the African Diaspora’s weakness manifest most in their continent of origin?

Emigration and Africa have for long been tied in the discourse of migration. Data indicate over 50 million Africans live in the diaspora with a dense presence in Europe and North America continents. The number could rise to a shocking level soon as the significant size of the African population, the youth, opted for emigration as one of the key means to mitigating chronic challenges, making still the diaspora agenda occupying for a foreseeable period to come.

Despite being large in size, the African Diaspora features passivity to contribute to the continent of origin in an organized manner. As such, Africa keeps experiencing the gap of disproportionate contributions of its huge diaspora population in all layers of involvement. Where does Africa need its Diaspora community most? And where the weak diaspora involvement has thus far been felt most within the political, economic, sociocultural, and security spectrum?

Mapping African Diaspora

Broadly speaking African Diaspora comprises the diverse population of African communities living outside of the sovereign continent of Africa and is historical. However, close studies and a better understanding of the population, which includes introducing and utilizing the term African Diaspora per se, occur to be a recent phenomenon. Literature points out that writers and thinkers began to widely apply and express the African Diaspora in the 1950s and 1960s. The African Union very recently conceptualizes the notion of African Diaspora which emphasizes its largely expected contribution as ‘‘peoples of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality.’’ Africa maintains a leading rank in the world in terms of contributing a substantial share of emigrants. In 2020 Africa contributed 14.5% of the world’s migrant population and the European continent hosts less than 27.2% of all African Diaspora. The same outline highlights that African emigrants constitute largely people of educated and skilled contributing significantly to the working forces of receiving continents. 

Leading combined drivers of emigrants of African origin

Three outstanding macro-level and structural motives specific to the growing concern of emigration explain the discussions why African migrants- political, economic, and social. On the political side, the straightforward reference implies longstanding instability generating conflicts of different levels. A 2021 IMF report concluded that conflicts in emerging markets and developing economies are important drivers of emigration. Recent numbers inform that politics-triggered conflicts produced over 40 million refugees in Africa with a significant potential of exiting the continent.

When it comes to economic reasons, the beliefs held at the wider societal level highlight that emigrating mitigates poor economic conditions at home. The aspiration is that there is a significant wage gain from escaping economic deprivation in Africa and moving to a richer country. As such a huge size of Africans, mainly the young segment opted to leave against several odds before destination countries in Europe and North America.   


On the social part, chances are that politics and economic disadvantages mingle. But demography and scarce resources atop. Unprecedented levels of population growth mark distinctly African nations. The number of African population rose from over eight hundred million in 2000 to over 1.5 billion in the last two decades. Ratio-wise the increment has reached way above 80 percent in recent years. To this massive and critical expansion of the demography, Africa responds incredibly slowly and this appears to motivate pushing several Africans to drive out of the continent. Projections indicate that African nations will grow further to 2.5 billion in 2050 producing more potentially migrating forces if the continent continues acting slowly.

An observation the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published recently outlined the positive correlation that exists between the size of the population of a migrant-sending country and the migration flow and the key driver will be the former. Data indicate that population growth in Africa does not always result in a higher emigration rate but the absolute incremental number of potential emigrants would impactfully grow.

Weak social organization weak participation

There is no absolute parallel drawn between the weak participation of a particular diaspora community and the degree of involvement in home countries. However, the argument sounds viable when there is no significant level of various engagements in one’s country of origin both at individual and organizational levels. This is remarkably sensible when it comes to the African diaspora and their largely expected contribution to their continent of origin particularly both in the economic and political spheres. African Diaspora’s capabilities to significantly contribute in the economic and political arena are largely understood as lost to their home continent. The two areas of engagement mark most African diaspora’s weak societal presence where they permanently reside and their longstanding passiveness in Africa.

Academic and media reports converge in highlighting an underlying fact that diasporas of Chinese, Indians, and Palestinians, few among leading others, keep a growing active and constructive contribution in the political spheres of their homeland. African Diaspora is lagging way behind in a number of such figurative reports much in line with the practical experience felt on the ground.This has largely been attributed to two main factors. On one hand, is the loose organizational presence of the large African Diaspora across continents. Diaspora of African origin live in dispersed and politically passive organizations quite contrary to other diaspora communities. The second and most important factor has to do with the fact that African states maintain more circumspect measures in permitting the wider Diasporas’ political participation. African states are active in facilitating remittances but hostile to facilitating political engagements of their respective nations abroad.

A robust involvement of the African Diaspora in the continent’s economic activity should be measured in terms of broader and lasting economic activities tied to meaningful transformation. Despite being better in relative terms than the political roles, African Diasporas’ economic participation that signifies transformational aspiration remains observably low. This could be supported by a report published by the African Union that assessed the positive and robust influence of the African Diaspora in the economic development of the continent.  But yet emigration in Africa’s economy continues to decrease outputs and damage productivity both in the short and long term. This is because it is the enduring poor level of economic activities of the same African continent that keeps contributing largely to Africans’ emigration.


The 2022 Revision of World Population Prospects-

World Economic Outlook, April 2020: The Great Lockdown-



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