The idea of the African Diaspora being declared a formal, institutionally recognisable region of the continent is once more gaining momentum as experts on the subject sit for a meeting in South Africa.
“Whenever this topic is considered, it evokes serious discussion of which I am sure will be central to this meeting. As you are aware, this matter has not been finalised and as such, this interest has not been translated into fully structured integration of the diaspora into the African continent,” South Africa’s International Relations Deputy Minister Marius Fransman told delegates at the Technical Committee of Experts Meeting.
In his opening address, Fransman said African Heads of State and Government have expressed keen interest in the African Diaspora being declared the sixth region of the continent.
The two-day meeting brings together experts from the continent and its diaspora, and marks the commencement of the implementation of the first key element of the AU/South Africa African Diaspora roadmap.
Fransman was of the view that the African Diaspora could contribute to the advancement of the continent.
“It is indeed correct to emphasise the centrality of the African Diaspora in the pursuit of a vision of a united, peaceful and prosperous Africa.”
He also emphasised that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development remained a programme which provides a framework within which the continent has to engage with its Diaspora to promote socio-economic development on the continent.
It is expected that this meeting will review the work already done in preparations for the postponed 2008 Summit. This will include review of the 2007 Ministerial Documents and the Draft Summit Declaration, among others.