Migration has been a consistent part of human civilization. History reveals that mankind originated in Africa and through migration, spread to the other parts of the world. Historically, there have been different social, economic, and political reasons for migration.
Immigrants from Africa do not come from one homogenous group, but they do have similar practices when they move to their new home countries. In the United States, these are some practices of transnational migrants from Africa.
|Vivian Kobusingye Birchall and H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, African Union Ambassador to the USA|
In Africa, families are still deeply dependent on each other socially, economically and in other ways. Because of this, migrants maintain connections to their home countries, and send remittances to their home countries to improve the lives of their families back home.
These remittances make up a large percentage of their home countries’ income – according to the World Bank, the second-largest source of foreign inflows into Africa after Foreign Direct Investment. Averaged across all of Africa, remittances account for a few percent of domestic GDP, but the percentage is higher in some countries. In 2017, Africa registered almost $40 billion in “formal” remittances, and, more than 25% of Liberia’s GDP came from remittances.
African immigrants also maintain their cultural lifestyles, introducing cuisine, fashion, music and other aspects of their culture into the communities where they live. In doing so, they increase the cultural diversity of those communities.
Africans are very interactive people, and even with migration, they gradually create transnational identities that they maintain through social groups, networks and associations. They also use these platforms to address issues that affect them collectively and share experiences for self-improvement.
It is important to increase visibility of these vibrant groups of young people who are committed to finding solutions to inefficiencies both on the continent of Africa and in their new homes, especially in the technology industry.
Reports indicate that immigrants from the continent of Africa to the United States are highly educated and contribute significantly to academic research, though many are under-employed. These immigrants can easily be engaged for consultation, strategic planning and networking by the African Union Mission to the United States.
Early this month, the AU Mission hosted its inaugural African Diaspora Youth Leadership Summit, in partnership with the US State Department. I was among the participants selected from the African Diaspora in the United States, to meet with participants from countries within Africa and discuss issues including business leadership, technology, sports and entertainment.
The summit reinforced the key role that the diaspora plays in the development processes of the continent, through its networking and remittances practices. Transnational African Migrants also have strategic knowledge of both the African continent and the United States, which they sometimes apply to trade, innovation and developing technology that is applicable to the African ecosystem.
I hope you have learnt something new about practices of transnational African migrants