Germany is home to an estimated 1 million members of the African Diaspora. The diaspora offers enormous potential for German development cooperation, but it has so far remained largely untapped into. Its members are not only experts on the African context, but also have a strong motivation to promote economic and social development in their countries of origin. Moreover, the African Diaspora already has a great financial influence on the continent. This includes a yearly average of 1.5 billion euros that is sent from Germany alone to family and friends in diaspora’s countries of origin. So far, however, only a small share of these remittances flows into business activities.
Since November 2019, WIDU.africa is one of the first projects of German Development Cooperation (GIZ) that wants to unfold this potential. The project, developed by the Chancellor’s Personal Representative for Africa, Günter Nooke, together with the African Diaspora and GIZ, gives micro-entrepreneurs in the countries of origin access to the missing capital and entrepreneurial skills. The digital platform relies on the contacts and knowledge of the diaspora in selecting eligible entrepreneurs and thus provides targeted support for the informal sector which is a vital component of many African countries’ economies. In the first project phase, which continues until the end of 2021, up to 6,000 new jobs are set to be created through grants for remittances that have been invested in a proven way.
How does WIDU.africa work and what has been achieved so far? To what extent can this approach be used to respond to economic emergencies in African countries such as the current Covid-19 crisis? What opportunities does cooperation with the African Diaspora offer beyond this project? Does it even have the potential to become the new gold standard of development cooperation?
These and other questions were at the focus of the discussion to which the German Africa Foundation in cooperation with Dr Karamba Diaby MP cordially invited you.