Washington, USA 15 November 2017 - As part of his official visit to Washington DC, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), on 15 November 2017, met with Rep. Karen Bass and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in Washington DC before addressing the representatives of the African Diaspora and African American community. The discussions during both meetings focused on the need to strengthen partnership between Africa and America particularly narrowing the gap and bringing the African Americans / Diaspora closer to Africa to better contribute to the development of the Continent in their capacity as Africa's sixth region. The AU considers the Diaspora to as the sixth Region of the Continent with the current five regions of southern, eastern, western, central, and northern Africa.
The session took place in the conference room of the AU Mission to the USA also referred to as 'Africa House,' and was facilitated by Mr, Melvin P. Foote, President of the Constituency for Africa (CFA). The lively interactive exchange of views between the representatives of the Diaspora, the AU Commission Chairperson and some AU Commissioners, took place in the presence of Mr. Al Ba, President and CEO of One Africa Group Diaspora Leaders, Detroit, Michigan; Amb. Arikana Chihombori Quao, Permenent Representative of the AU Mission to the USA; Mr. Mamadou Samba, Director of the Mayor's Office of African Affairs (MOAA); Mr, Kenny Oreagba, Chairman of the Maryland Governor's Commission on African Affairs; and several other high profile US-based African leaders.
In his welcoming remarks, the president of the CFA expressed his gratitude to the AUC Chairperson for accepting to meet Diaspora leaders and pointed out that the Diaspora in the USA and worldwide, has much to offer to Africa. 'In the United States alone there are over 50 million who are Diaspora including African-Americans, whose ancestors were brought to these shores 400 years ago as slaves, to provide the free-labor that enabled this country to develop into the power that it is today as well as the remarkable presence of Afro-Latinos and those from the Caribbean.' Mr Foote also 'According to the World Bank, the African immigrant community remit more than $35 billion dollars to the continent each year, a larger amount than all of the Foreign Direct Investment that the continent receives'.
The discussion between the Diaspora and Chairperson Faki touched on various areas of cooperation and partnership including direct and indirect investment in Africa to boost economic grown through trade and business development, agriculture, education, infrastructure development, ICT and innovation, among others.
For his part, the AUC Chairperson called on the Diaspora to better organize itself and engage the AU Commission in a more efficient manner to ensure 'The Africa We Want' and improve the lives of the African population in the continent and the Diaspora. Chairperson Faki was confident that this key partnership would be reinforced through the AU Mission to the USA and close the gap between the continent and its Diaspora.
Note to Editors:
The African Union Representational Mission to the United States of America is the first bilateral mission of the African Union in the World. The main Mission of the AU diplomatic representation in the US is to build, sustain, and nurture a strategic partnership with the United Sates government, develop, maintain productive institutional relationships between the African Union and key U.S stakeholders including the Congress, think- tanks, institutions of higher learning, civil society, the private sector and the in the Diaspora.
On the ongoing basis, and in accordance with the mandate of the AU Mission to the USA the AUC-U.S. strategic partnership has been reinforced in the areas of mutual interest such as peace and security, democracy and governance, economic development, investment and trade, and promotion of opportunity and development.
Engaging the U.S. Congress. Africa has always enjoyed a strong bipartisan and bicameral support within both Houses of the U.S Congress. The focus has been on Peace and Security, Agriculture and Food Security, Trade and Investment with a focus on The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Power Africa, Electrify Africa and Capacity Building.
The AU Mission is playing a key role in coordinating the African Ambassadors Group (AAG) to advance the common African interest. The AU Mission serves as Secretariat for the Group and the presence of the AU Mission to the USA has been instrumental in enhancing African Union Commission / World Bank Group/IMF partnership.
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