A private banking consultant, Nilla Selormey, has reiterated the need for Africa to develop a diaspora strategy that will utilise skills of returnees to harness opportunities in the continent.
She said the strategy must have clearly defined goals based on sectoral analysis that highlight key opportunities in each sector of the economy.
The strategy, she explained, must also involve the segmentation of the African Diaspora into unique segments in order to develop targeted policies.
Addressing a business conference organised by the African Management Services Company (AMSCO), an arm of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Ms Selormey said a critical first move for any African government would be to set a vision that should lead the development of the strategy.
“A vision that is compelling enough to persuade action; and a vision that will drive how we intend to position ourselves to attract the needed attention,” she said, when she addressed the theme, “Homecoming revolution: the future is now, a look at the African Diaspora”.
She said Africans in the diaspora were a potent force for transforming Africa and now was the time for a return to Africa, saying, “there are both push factors, pushing them out of the more developed world and pull factors, pulling them back into Africa.”
Success stories Ms Selormey shared the success stories of two returnees, Dr Patrick Awuah, the founder of the Ashesi University, and Dr Ashifi Gogo, the founder of marketing technology company Sproxil in 2009, who excelled in their various endeavours after returning to take advantage of opportunities on the continent.
She said while Dr Awuah was named among the world’s 50 greatest leaders in 2015 by Fortune Magazine, Dr Gogo’s Sproxil Defender technology used to verify the authenticity of products won the company the world’s most Innovative company in health care by Fast Company, and the seventh most innovative worldwide in 2013.
Africa, a continent of opportunities
She said the continent held enormous opportunities that must be harnessed through partnerships to develop the continent.
She identified some of the areas as agriculture, health care, infrastructure, education, financial services, technology and energy.
“Our resource rich Africa presents a “greenfield” opportunity for development with the abundance of its natural resource, vast lands, and the evolution of a young, confident, intelligent and resourceful, hungry and eager to learn and earn generation,” Ms Selormey stated.
Since June 2014, when oil began to plunge, the financial services industry in sub-Saharan Africa outperformed its emerging markets counterparts by 11 per cent.
By and large, the continent has done remarkably well and has outperformed other developing regions and the rest of the world.
That notwithstanding, Mr Selormey, who was the inaugural Managing Director of Universal Merchant Bank, said financial inclusion was low at less than 20 per cent in many countries on the continent, a potential Africans in the diaspora could look at.
“Consider the fact that most countries on the continent lack a proper consumer credit scoring system, hampering the efficient access to credit. This specific problem lends itself to interesting potential solutions with all the advances in big data and predictive analytics,” she stated.