way of background, in 2001, the African Union (AU) succeeded the Organization of African Unity (OAU) as the single, continent-wide
body to represent the joint interests of African countries. As the preeminent
mission of the OAU was to assist African countries in achieving political independence and economic self-sufficiency, the
primary aim of the AU is to achieve a Pan African unification of the 54 African countries into a single Union of African States.
The need to involve the Diaspora in the relentless effort that is required to achieve such a Union of African States
was recognized and codified in the original Constitutive Act that established the African Union (and officially disbanded
the OAU) in 2001. In 2003, and 2005, that Constitutive Act was amended and clarified regarding the Diaspora, such that the
operative statement now is Article 3 (q) that the AU hereby ".. invite(s) and
encourage(s) the full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of our continent, in the building of
the African Union."
AU is currently establishing several Diasporan Secretariats in various parts of the world to help to facilitate bringing the
Diasporans into this process. There is one already established for the Western Hemisphere (in Washington, D.C.) called the
WHADN, one being established for Europe, and one being set up in Ghana (to assist with Ghana's Joseph Plan strategy to attract
Diasporans back to Ghana and to Africa as a whole). The WHADN (Western Hemisphere African Diaspora Network) out of Washington,
D.C. has a mandate to help Diasporans (who recognize themselves as Africans and African descendants) organize themselves
in six sub-regions--Canada, the United States, Latin America/Central America, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Europe. The WHADN has a fully formed calendar of educational trips planned for 2006
to disseminate accurate information about the AU and the Diaspora, and the trips have already started (Howard University,
Harvard University, community groups
in Connecticut, etc.) There have been several pivotal meetings thus far to push
this agenda forward. As examples, there was a meeting of Pan African scholars in Dakar in 2004 to define and analyze
the Diaspora, the AU-Western Hemisphere Diaspora Forum in December, 2002 (Washington, D.C.) and Trinidad in 2004, and Addis
Ababa in 2003 and 2005 to approve a definition and to clarify a stronger commitment to bringing the Diaspora in, two
major New York gatherings in 2004-2005 to begin organizing a Diasporan model, and the Pan African unification meeting in Atlanta
in March, 2006. The issue of defining the Diaspora for purposes of representation has been engaged, just not yet completely
In 2005, the AU submitted to us its own definition: "The
African Diaspora are peoples of African descent and heritage living outside the continent, irrespective of
their citizenship and who remain committed to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the
African Union." This was the definition accepted during the L.A. ROUNDTABLE/FORUM. It means there are Pan African Black
and Brown folk who represent the African Diaspora and who will be encouraged to come forward and invest some time, energy,
will and money to move Africa ahead.
AFRICA MUST UNITE AND AFRICANS MUST UNITE!