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Howard University, Conference Venue
The Foundation for Democracy in Africa is hosting a conference at Howard University in Washington, DC [USA], to promote more involvement by Diaspora Africans, in the social, political, and economic life of the African Union. The conference will begin at 3:00 pm on 17th December and end on the 19th of December, 2002.

The conference will be attended by AU Commission Chair Amara Essy and other African leaders from around the globe. There is an expectation among participants that the conference should become an annual event. The FDA President Fred Oladeinde has recieved offers of support and sponsorship for similar FDA AU-Dispora conferences in Trinidad and Canada, from AUF leaders.

Denham Ikemefuna
AUF Deputy General Secretary Denham Ikemefuna Fassett will be leading the AUF delegation at the Washington FDA conference. Dan Kashagama, AUF General Secretary will participate via video conference. AUF Deputy General Secretary Denham Ikemefuna will also be holding a meeting with African Union Commission Chair Amara Essy. Speakers at the convention include Honorable Anthony Williams - Mayor of Washington DC, The Honorable Representative Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Mr. Patrick Swygert, President of Howard University.

The Foundation for Democracy in Africa conference will bring together civil society representatives from organizations representing the African Diaspora in the Western Hemisphere. They will discuss issues pertaining to the African Diaspora's relationship with the African Union. The conference fulfills a need to systematize the channels of communication and to define the issues of concern to Africans all over the world. MORE: SEE BELOW

November 29, 2002
Posted to the web November 29, 2002

Washington, DC

The Foundation for Democracy in Africa is convening a historic conference bringing together civil society representatives from organizations representing the African Diaspora in the Western Hemisphere to discuss an ongoing relationship with the new African Union. This meeting will held on December 17, 2002, at Howard University in Northwest Washington, D.C.

"Unlike its predecessor, the Organization for African Unity, the African Union (AU) has determined that a major priority must be an ongoing connection to civil society," said Foundation President Fred Oladeinde. "Through the conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA), the AU has been reaching out to African civil society for months. Now the AU is trying to establish an ongoing link between itself and the African Diaspora through civil society organizations."

Taking note of the continuing cultural ties between the continent and the descendants of Africa around the world, the AU has asked the Foundation for Democracy in Africa to organize the Western Hemisphere Diaspora Forum to allow the AU to present its goals for linking the Diaspora worldwide. This forum will not only examine the current ties that bind the Diaspora to Africa, but also will examine issues such as reversing the brain drain that has seen Africa lose a third of its skilled professionals in the last two decades. The replacement cost of Western technical assistance is an estimated US$4 billion a year. Meanwhile, African scientists and technicians are widely involved in high profile scientific research, which could be directly benefiting African nations in dealing with such crises as the HIV-AIDS pandemic.

Moreover, African families living in America have the highest average family income in this country, at about US$67,500. As for native-born African-Americans, hundreds of billions of dollars in earnings flow through the Black community each year without having a significant impact on that community or being utilized for investment overseas. Still, remittances to African nations from countries such as the United States represent significant income. The most recent statistics show that Egypt receives nearly US$3.2 billion a year, Morocco receives about US$1.9 billion a year and Nigeria receives almost US$1.3 billion a year.

Consequently, the African Union Western Hemisphere Diaspora Forum has three objectives:

1. To examine the enduring ties to Africa within the Western Hemisphere Diaspora communities,

2. To discuss possible capacity building projects by Diaspora civil society organizations in the Western Hemisphere Diaspora and

3. To devise a plan of ongoing collaboration with the African Union, including a plan of action and a hemisphere steering committee.

The program will begin with a town hall meeting on December 17. A select group of organizations has been selected to continue discussions beyond the town hall meeting on December 18-19 to form an ongoing link to the African Union, create a steering committee of civil society organizations to liaise with the African Union on an ongoing basis and develop working groups on various issues listed to continue work on joint programs with the African Union.

For further information, contact: Gregory Simpkins, tel: 202-331-1333. Email: