Thursday, May 13, 2010

Connecting The Dots Within The Black Diaspora

Connecting The Dots Within The Black Diaspora
by Harry C. Alford

Beyond the Rhetoric

(NNPA) - There are more than a billion people of African descent living on this precious earth. There are 800 million in Africa; 140 million in South America; 40 million in the United States and the remaining spread amongst the rest of the globe. No matter which way you look at it, we are at the bottom rung of each economic ladder in each and every nation.

It is time to seriously address this matter and no one is going to do it sincerely but people of African descent themselves. There are a lot of organizations such as the United Nations, NATO, World Bank, IMF, etc. that give token attention to the needs of the Black Diaspora. There will never be true progress from these groups because it is in their economic interest to exploit the Black Diaspora not nurture it.

Descendents of Africa must do for self. First we need to get thoroughly organized. We cannot do this with social worker types forming committees and liaisons. The glue that can put us all together is COMMERCE. The best example is that of the Chinese Diaspora. The common thread and link to all people of Chinese descent is commercial interaction. Economic empowerment solidifies the population which is spread throughout the world.

This is obviously successful and we, people of African descent, should use this as our new model.

As the nation of China is the center of the Chinese Diaspora commercial activity, the United States should become the commercial center for the Black Diaspora. Our economic status, educational levels and personal wealth are the greatest amongst the Diaspora. It is our destiny to lead this major project and set policy, trade routes, best practices for all of us to follow. It won’t be easy but anything of value never is. Let’s begin working on this.

During the next few months I will be working furiously on setting exchange programs with Afro Latinos in the heavily Black populated nations of Colombia and Brazil. They possess the two largest Black populations in South America. We have had interaction in the past and now it is time to pick up the pace in a turbo fashion. African-Americans should get ready to learn a lot about these two nations and many of you should plan on traveling to and from and, also, seek business opportunities amongst all the players.

Both Colombia and Brazil have what we call Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We should develop a Sister Program between them and some of our HBCUs. The business and engineering schools should be in constant interaction and we, the United States, should provide good internship opportunities for students in the South American schools with major US corporations. This would develop capacity and valuable experience that the students can take back to their respective communities.

They could start entrepreneurial ventures that would create significant numbers of jobs and start them on a wealth building journey. My plan is to develop partnerships with at least two US schools and one Colombian campus and one from Brazil.

We will assemble a working group of African American entrepreneurs and go on fact finding missions to these two nations. We will also host fact finding groups from Brazil and Colombia to likewise see how we do it in America. From there we will organize aggressive trade missions and seek to form joint ventures and other economic collaborations with our entrepreneurial counterparts. Perhaps we can get the World Bank to provide some token financing that could jump start our newly formed ventures. Some way; some how we will find the seed money (even if it comes from our own pockets) and start the long and glorious mission.

Of course, we will have to develop a good political strategy. Nothing gets Congress and the US State Department more nervous than a group of African American entrepreneurs visiting foreign nations on a business trip.

This is a “game changer” and will revolutionize the economic order and the place where descendents of Africa will interact.

We must charge quickly and at the same time let them know that our intent and purpose is peaceful and positive.

After all, why can’t descendents of Africa be self sufficient and economically viable? There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and only we, ourselves, will be the ones to change it. No, we cannot wait on the “gatekeepers” to open the gate. Let’s jump the gate!

This will be the start. Soon we should have all of South America connected along with the Caribbean. From there we go for the grand prize – the wonderful continent of Africa.

Africa, our motherland with all its treasures and natural resources that exceed any other geography in the world, is the final prize. What if the Black Diaspora had its act together like the Chinese Diaspora? What a wonderful world this would be.

Harry Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: Email:

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