With Africa being the youngest continent in the world, with a median age of 20 years and 60 % of the population under 25, the continent is the future. It has the potential to define geopolitics, world economics, and foreign policy in the decades to come.
This necessitates a joint partnership rooted in mutual respect between the US and Africa. The Biden-Harris administration has shown its commitment to fostering relations between the two continents, as outlined in the US Strategy Towards Sub-Saharan Africa that was unveiled in August 2021.
In December 2022, I attended the first US-Africa Leaders Summit hosted by the White House since 2014 in Washington, DC. Africans, diasporans, and American government officials shared a platform to strengthen relationships for the betterment of our planet and to amplify the work of the African diaspora.
During the summit’s Africa and Diaspora Young Leaders Forum, under the theme ‘Amplifying Voices: Building Partnerships That Last’, leaders stressed the need for a new sub-Saharan Africa strategy rooted in partnership. This new approach recognises that we cannot effectively address our shared priorities unless we work together. Such a partnership underscores the immense role of the African diaspora and how young people will be instrumental in shaping and strengthening that partnership.
As a diasporan originally from Eritrea, I am inspired to see African and US government representatives recognise the critical role the diaspora plays in the development of Africa, which we have been dedicated to at the African Diaspora Network for the past 12 years.
As we consider modern Africa, discussions often revolve around the critical role of foreign direct relief, development, and investment. Accordingly, much of our mainstream culture’s attention focuses on the actions of foreign aid organisations, governments of the Global North offering assistance to the Global South and regional or national initiatives within the diverse community that is Africa today.
We must shift this paradigm to understand the significance of mutual partnership for development rather than an uneven and unsustainable relationship where African countries continue to be the recipients of foreign aid. According to the United Nations World Population Prospects (2017), Africa will be home to 2.2 billion people by 2050. This will require targeted new enterprise growth in areas that can enhance food supply, healthcare services, and educational solutions within local communities. This presents a fantastic opportunity for the diaspora to explore business development on the continent.