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It is estimated that remittances to and
within Africa total $40 billion dollars a year. But only a few money transfer
operators have a monopoly in processing these remittances.
So how can
remittance senders in the African Diaspora get more value for their money?
Senegal-born Ogo Sow, communications
advisor on Diaspora Affairs for the US-based Africa Travel Association said the solution lies in the setting up of an African immigrant
role of the African Immigrant Bank is we're going to use that as a way people
sending money like transfer agencies like Western Union or Citi Bank. Why not
launch an African Immigrant Bank owned by Africans?" he said.
said the bank would give a big advantage to African immigrants.
money you're sending to your country when the dollar gets there, the people
you're sending it they don't get one dollar. They get less than a dollar, and
we can help to keep that money in the bank to help create health facilities in
the rural areas and small jobs for the youth," Sow said.
said the idea of an African immigrant bank is the brainchild of the US-based Africa
Travel Association (ATA).
mission of ATA is to promote tourism from America to Africa, and ATA come up
with this idea you know the African Diaspora is there, but we don't talk about
African immigrant contribution. And now we're using ATA to say we're going to
work with the AU (African Union) to give this proposal to African heads of
state and African bankers and also Americans who are interested to help to
build that bank," he said.
said Africans in the Diaspora are equally concerned about the lack of a favorable
business climate in Africa.
Africa wants its sons and daughters to go back to invest like just what Chinese
and Jews are doing in Israel, we have a security problem there because I am not
going to save my money here $10,000 or $1 million and going back put in some
African country's bank and when there is a conflict I lost my money without
having a guarantee," Sow said.
said the Diaspora will be discussing with the African Union its concerns about
security and visa requirements.
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of the problem we're going to discuss is about security and visas. They have to
do exactly like here. American people they don't need visa to go and establish
in Atlanta or in Chicago or in Los Angeles," he said.
said the African Union has moved to bring about understanding between
continental Africans and African Americans.
Americans they say the Diaspora is those Africans who were forced to leave the
continent by force. And we said we are part of the Diaspora because when you
leave outside of your country if it is voluntary or involuntary you become
somebody who is abroad," he said.
said the African Union has resolved this issue by defining African Diaspora as
people of African origin living outside the continent who are willing to
contribute to the development of the continent.
said now is the time for Africans born on the continent to bridge the divide between
them and African Americans, especially with the election of Barack Obama as
president of the United States.
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