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Rwanda Diaspora in the UK Study Presentation

On January 10th in London and 11th in Coventry the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Rwanda High Commission (RHC) and the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD) co-hosted these events in the UK for the Rwandan community to present findings and recommendations from a recent study of Rwandans in the UK and gather feedback and comments on the content; to provide an overview of Rwanda’s diaspora policies, initiatives and opportunities; and to showcase individual diaspora engagement experiences from Rwandans living in the UK. The events also provide an opportunity for networking and wider discussions on diaspora engagement within the Rwandan community in the UK.

This study was part of a four-country research project that examined Rwandan communities in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK between May and September 2018. The Rwandan diaspora study held concentrated across three major urban areas, London, the Midlands, and Manchester and the North, with smaller groups in Scotland, the rest of England, and Wales.

Over 120 guests from the diaspora attended this insightful study presentation with thoughts and ways forward given by Her Excellency Ms Yamina Karitanyi from the Rwandan High Commission and Alice Karara from IOM Rwanda.

Following feedback from the events, steps are being taken to explore the possibility of re-opening the research study for a short period of time. To contribute to the Rwandan in UK research please click here. To be notified when the final study is published click here.

AFFORD mourns loss of Trustee Efua Taylor

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of AFFORD’s former Board Member Efua Taylor.

Efua Taylor left us on the 15th December 2018 at the age of 80 years old. Efua Taylor was an active and integral part of AFFORD’s board for 11 years from 2003 to 2014, mainly serving as Secretary. A caring and committed figure, she devoted a large part of her life to charitable and volunteering activities, including being on the board of Voluntary Action Camden for 20 years, and the board of Age Concern Camden between 2002-2005. Never slowing down, she enrolled in an alternative therapy degree course at Middlesex University in her 70s, showing great passion for the subject and enjoying re-entering student life. We remember her as a source of great knowledge about Pan-African history, and she saw her contribution to AFFORD through this prism of delivering effective grassroots Pan Africanism. Efua contributed immensely to the development and governance of AFFORD, especially between 2008/12, during a period of transition for the organisation. We offer our deep condolences to her children and other family members.

Please see statements from AFFORD’s trustees below:

 In July 2018, Efua Florence Martha Kurankyiwa Taylor celebrated her 80th birthday. Efua was a Development Officer who devoted a good part of her life to volunteering and charitable activities. She was a trustee and board member of AFFORD for 11 years from 2003 to 2014, for most of that time serving as Secretary. She was on the board of Voluntary Action Camden for 20 years from 1995 to 2015. She also served on the board of Age Concern Camden between 2002-2005. In her 70s, she enrolled on a degree course in alternative therapy at Middlesex University, enjoying student life and showing great passion for the subject.  

Efua contributed immensely to the development and governance of AFFORD, especially between 2008/12, when AFFORD underwent a transition. I have very fond memories of her, me going through her vast selection of herbal teas at her flat in Finchley. But mostly, I remember her for her patience and commitment, caring nature and steadfast support. As chair of AFFORD, we depended on her calm and good counsel. May her soul rest in perfect peace .

Gibril Faal

Efua first came into contact with AFFORD when we ran the “Africans without borders: Development from a distance?” evening adult education course in partnership with Birkbeck College, University of London. While Efua was probably the oldest course participant, I seem to recall that Yinka was the youngest. They both proceeded to get more involved with AFFORD. Efua was a live link with some of our esteemed Pan-Africanist forebears, those who challenged British colonial rule across the Empire, and who later led their countries to independence. Efua’s father, James Taylor, was a prominent and successful businessperson who supported the course, I think living in Manchester at the time of the 1945 Fifth Pan-African Congress. Efua would have been a young child at the time but she used to fascinate us with tales of sitting on “Uncle Jomo’s lap” (Jomo Kenyatta) and other such luminaries. RIP Efua and thank you for your contributions to AFFORD’s development over many years.

Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie

Efua was such an amazing person – always ready to assist and do what was necessary for AFFORD. She was always interested in the activities and made herself available at key events. I echo Gibril’s comments about her vital role during the period of transition. May her soul rest in perfect peace.

Onyekachi Wambu 

This is very sad news indeed, I remember Efua for her loving kindness and resilience- Efua was a mother figure, very knowledgeable and proud to be African. She symbolized stability and strength especially when AFFORD and her own health were going through a trying period. Efua you have fought a good fight, you have finished your race and kept the faith. You may be gone physically, but your legacy will live on. May her soul rest in eternal peace.

Martin Osengor

I remember speaking to Efua about Pan-African history, I knew her to be very wise and very knowledgeable. May her soul rest in peace.

Ndidi Njoku


AFFORD Business Club interviews Morrison & Foerster LLP

The AFFORD Business Club (ABC) are working in partnership with Morrison and Foerster LLP, to provide ABC Members with access to pro-bono business legal consultations. This takes the form of monthly Legal Clinics and webinars held at the London offices of Morrison and Foerster, where members are given dedicated one-to-one time with lawyers assigned to them to provide assistance with their particular legal query. The consultations cover a range of business topic areas, including tax regulations, employment law, intellectual property and contract formation.

Here, the ABC team speaks with Howard Morrison, Senior of Counsel at Morrison and Foerster.

Why are Morrison & Foerster interested in assisting diaspora organisations with a focus on having a business in Africa?

Our pro bono work covers a very wide range of fields, but something at the heart of Morrison and Foerster in terms of all its works is working with businesses that are growing. We have the right skill set to help businesses that are developing, and businesses that are developing in Africa pose particular challenges because the continent and its countries are developing so quickly. Being able to provide practical and useful legal input offers us a challenge as well which we find fascinating, particularly as not enough high-quality legal advice is available for people doing business in Africa- we’re filling a gap.

What is the most common legal oversight you have seen small businesses do that has serious repercussions?

This goes across all small businesses and not just those connected to Africa, but often businesses don’t think about legal aspects sufficiently early in the life of the business. This is often because business owners are doing things their own way, and suddenly when business begins to take off relationships are tested, particularly when money is involved. It makes a lot of sense, even if you are a very small business, to establish legal clarity from the start so that everyone knows where they are early on, and this provides a foundation on which to build.

What advice would you give businesses to help them strengthen and secure their position/ business?

It is very challenging when financially you are not in a position where you can spend money on having an accountant, lawyer etc. because all of the profit you are making is being put back into the business. Getting whatever advice you can, no matter how big or small, to help develop a clear vision for the future is really important. So many people have really bright ideas, but actually turning them into a business which generates sufficient income for them to live on as well as profit to put back into the business to grow it just requires sufficient planning and helpful advice to avoid huge challenges later. Spend time planning and thinking before making decisions.

What advice would you give to UK based diaspora businesses wanting to do business in Africa?

What we’ve noticed, and this is not just African diaspora specific, is that there are commonalities to be found among all diaspora, which include a desire to help the development of that country, which is wonderful. However, there is a risk of being divorced from the reality of what it’s like in that country and having a sentimentalised perspective. This can mean that individuals can easily be taken advantage of if the correct processes and regulations are not in place for your business. Africa presents huge opportunities, growing markets, ambitions, talents, growing capital and natural resources; however, you can’t deny the challenges. These include a lack of infrastructure, inadequate bureaucracies, corruption, geographical distance – none of these are unique to Africa, however it is important to be aware of them.

Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration: AFFORD’s Statement

United Nations Intergovernmental Conference

Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration

Marrakech, Morocco, 10 December 2018

‘Promoting action on the commitments of the Global Compact for Migration’ African Foundation for Development (AFFORD)

The African Foundation for Development (AFFORD) was founded in the United Kingdom in 1994, with the mission to expand and enhance the role of the diaspora in Africa’s development. Amongst other things, AFFORD undertakes job creation, enterprise development and diaspora investment programmes in Africa. AFFORD aligns itself to the civil society statement on the Global Compact for Migration.

It is acknowledged that to a great extent, the actions in the GCM are already being implemented by different stakeholders. However, expanded, intensified, new and innovative endeavours are needed. These can be stimulated and promoted by ensuring that general monitoring and the Progress Declaration of the four-yearly International Migration Review Forum reports specifically on the extent to which the diverse direct and indirect migration stakeholders have gained a Migration Dividend; Migration Dividend being the surplus of financial, economic, social, political, and other human development benefits over and above the costs and inputs associated with migration. Such an approach also offers opportunities for more substantive input in GCM from business and academia.

Structured diaspora investment products in Africa can be enhanced by development partners supporting and underwriting the smaller-scale, project-based diaspora bonds devised by diaspora professionals, to fund job creation, community facilities and local regeneration programmes. Similarly, there is need for governments, institutional and philanthropic partners to invest substantially in diaspora enterprise and impact funds that finance social enterprises and fast-growth ventures through debt, equity and grant finance, whist providing accompanying relational business support and capacity development. These diaspora investment actions provide sustainable livelihoods and improved quality of life, especially to the young, thereby minimising the risk of human capital wastage and, irregular and dysfunctional migration.

AFFORD expresses its thanks for the continuing and improving cooperation from the United Nations and Member States.

Ms Stella Opoku-Owusu, Deputy Executive Director


Editors notes

  1. Joint Civil Society Statement 2018
  2. Full Agreed-Outcome and 23 objectives_Global-Compact-for-Migration.pdf
  3. Article – Delivering and demonstrating migration dividend through the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration by Gibril Faal, AFFORD
  4. On 13 July 2018 UN Member States finalized the text for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was held on 10 – 11 December in Marrakech, Morocco.
  5. On 6th December 2018 as part of the Eleventh Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) Civil Society Days  AFFORD organised a side event Unlocking diaspora finance: a case study. 
  6. As part of the GFMD Civil Society Days AFFORD contributed to the MADE West Africa Side Event on 6th December; The ADEPT Diaspora Development Dialogue (DDD10), the  5th Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development and the International Organisation for Migration & AU event on 8th and 9th December.

For enquires contact the AFFORD Communications Team on 020 3326 3750

AFFORD welcomes Minister for Africa Harriet Baldwin MP

On Thursday 6 December, AFFORD, welcomed the Minister for Africa Harriet Baldwin MP and representatives of leading Africa diaspora organisations and entrepreneurs in the UK to a Business round table, held as part of the organisation’s Diaspora Investment and Policy Forum (DIPF).AFFORD Executive Director, Onyekachi Wambu, stressed the positive impact that African diaspora contributions are having on Africa giving example of the power of remittances which outstrip bilateral aid flows. Over $40 billion was sent to Africa, last year impacting education, healthcare and much needed employment, as well as lobbying on ending harmful practices – like FGM/C and education for girls.  Twenty-five per cent (or $10 billion) of the remittances represent investment of some kind, which could have more impact through better structured financial instruments and products such as the Remitplus Rwanda diaspora bond which AFFORD is launching in 2019.

The Minister, reiterated the aim of the UK becoming the largest G7 investor in Africa, and acknowledged the ‘richness and diversity’ of skills and expertise that the diaspora communities offered and was keen to hear how partnership with government could be improved to reach the target.  With the opening of new offices and embassies in several African countries including, Djibouti, Chad and Niger, the Minister emphasised the desire for recruitment to posts in these countries to come from the diaspora community and strongly encouraged diaspora apply for these job opportunities. The meeting also saw the Minister remind attendees of the planned Africa Investment Summit to be held in the UK in 2019 and the important role the diaspora will play both in the summit and investment and expressed an interested working with AFFORD and it’s network.

Diaspora organisations and entrepreneurs had the opportunity to share their experiences. Some enterprises demonstrated the job opportunities their business are able to create in Africa and the UK, highlighting the benefits to both continents.  Challenges shared included lack of access to sustainable investment capital, limited support to help services go to market, mentoring and building a pipe line to get diaspora and African SMEs investment ready.  A strong recommendation for improved partnership work and longer commitment to programmes that provided training and seed capital was advised to encourage growth and sustainability which in turn would produce more business success stories.

AFFORD’s Chair, Ade Daramy, AFFORD closed the meeting emphasising the need for a more coordinated partnership approach and the need to formalise structures to produce greater efficiencies which in turn will enable the diaspora to operate and deliver at scale, producing greater impact.



Editors notes:

  1. The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) is the UK government department responsible for protecting and promoting British interests around the world, through the FCO in London and their network of over 270 diplomatic posts in 168 countries and territories. Find out more about a career in the FCO by visiting their pages on:

Diplomatic Service Fast Stream

Diplomatic Service Economics Fast Stream

Summer Diversity Internship Programme

2. Diaspora Investment & Policy Forums (DIPFs) bring together African diaspora businesses and social enterprises, governments, civil          society organisations, the private sector and other development stakeholders, to work on practical means of improving diaspora interventions in African development and job creation. DIPF’s are convened by AFFORD and its partners to provide opportunity to mainstream diaspora perspectives, priorities and practices.

DIPFs involves:

  • Development Dialogue between diaspora businesses, social enterprises, mainstream, business development institutions, policy makers, government institutions relevant to enabling SME sector, and other stakeholders.
  • Policy Development that strengthens SME sector with focus on practical, effective and sustainable implementation.
  • Facilitated Networking for partnership action and improved policy that impacts positively on SME sector.

For any enquires contact:

The Communications Team on 020 3326 3750

Calling all Rwandans in the UK

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has commissioned the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD) to carry out a study about Rwandans and people of Rwandan heritage living in the United Kingdom, which is taking place between May and September 2018.
This forms part of a broader IOM initiative to coordinate studies about Rwandans and people of Rwandan heritage living in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany for the Government of Rwanda.

The UK study will be conducted by AFFORD and will involve research about Rwandans and people of Rwandan origin living in the UK through surveys, interviews and focus group discussions. The aim of this study is to better understand how Rwandans abroad interact with, and contribute to, Rwanda. For the purposes of this study, Rwandans in the UK include anyone born in Rwanda or whose parents or grandparents are Rwandan.

All responses to this study will be treated in the strictest confidence, and all results will be anonymised.

The findings of the UK study, along with the other three countries, will contribute to a Migration Profile of Rwanda, which is due to be completed at the end of 2018. This will make recommendations to the Government of Rwanda on how Rwandans abroad can be better supported to contribute to Rwanda’s development.

If you are interested in taking part, please click here.

For further information on the study, please contact:


Claude Rutsinzi – Principal Researcher


Paul Asquith – Reseach Coordinator


Tel +44 (0)203 326 3750


Sia Kondeh – Project Assistant


Tel +44 (0) 207 811 6036


AFFORD facilitates European Union Humanitarian Training session

CHS Alliance, Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and AFFORD organised a capacity building event for diaspora volunteers and organisations working in the humanitarian sector in London on 20-23 November 2018. The training sessions included training on: Core Humanitarian Standards and Volunteer Management. A variety of diaspora organisations attended, this included: Himilo Relief & Development Association (HIRDA) & Hand in Hand for Syria (HIFHAD). The event is part of a series of events aimed at building diaspora capacity to work in the humanitarian sector and international development. The next training session will take place in January 2019.

AFFORD Interviews #DiasporaTransformer Noreen Makosewe

1. Tell us about your business and the motivations behind starting your business?

The Radical Leap Company focuses on providing end-to-end strategy and grow solutions for brands leaders and organisations with the aim of increasing performance, productivity and profitability. In the course of working with businesses over the years, I noticed the need founders and co-founders have for consulting and long-term mentoring and advisory support to help minimise failure rates and increase chances of success. That led me to create different programmes that carter to start-ups in general as well as female founders, who have a higher churn rate (more start-ups and closures).

a. Start-Up Box™ – 1-2 day immersive to take ideas from concept to reality
b. Crystallize™ – 12-week accelerator programme for growth stage businesses
c. Female Founders Africa™ – 10-month programme for female-led, Africa-focused businesses

2. What do you find most rewarding about being an entrepreneur and working in Africa?

Being part of the positive transformation of businesses and the lives and communities connected to them. Being of African origin, I am passionate about helping African businesses compete on a global platform by become future-ready, more profitable and sustainable, with the aim of birthing more local venture capitalists capable of investing in start-ups in their home countries.

3. What advice would you give to young members of the African diaspora who are interested in starting a business in Africa?

a. Get on a plane and go to your country of interest. Market reports are brilliant but back that up with first-hand experience of what it feels like to be in the environment where you want to do business
b. Speak to locals and understand what the greatest need is. It’s dangerous to make assumptions based on own mind-set, media representation or market reports only. Africa is a dynamic market and change is constant. Understanding that could be the difference between success and failure
c. Respect local knowledge. Find allies or trusted partners who can guide you in discovering the business terrain of your country of interest. They are the experts in that regard
d. Understand both the business culture and social norms of your country of interest. Certain words and actions that are not ill-intended could damage business relationships
e. Follow economic and political changes of your country of interest closely. The survival of your business could depend on your ability to adapt or exit at the right time

4. What do you think are some of the key barriers in preventing people to starting their own businesses?

a. Fear of the unknown
b. Misconceptions based on second-hand knowledge
c. Lack of know-how of certain aspects of business or their specific industry
d. Lack of ongoing support (business coaching, consulting or advisory support, mentoring)
e. No access to funding to start-up (some businesses are capital intensive)
f. Not knowing how to pitch correctly to access the right funding

#DiasporaTransformers: AFFORD interviews PR Superstar Ronke Lawal

This year we celebrated Global Entrepreneurship week  from 12th-18th November 2018 by showcasing the impact of diaspora entrepreneurs on all our social media channels. We hosted a series of Facebook Live roundtable discussions with notable African diaspora entrepreneurs who shared tips on how to maintain a successful diaspora business, you can watch our Facebook Live discussions by clicking here.

We also interviewed a variety of diaspora entrepreneurs including AFFORD Business Club member Ronke Lawal, founder and director of PR agency Ariatu PR. Find out more about Ronke’s journey to establishing Ariatu PR by reading below!

Tell us about your business and the motivations behind starting your business?

Ariatu PR works with a variety of entrepreneurs from the African and Caribbean Diaspora on their public relations, reputation management, crisis management and media relations to gain media coverage for their businesses which tend to be across the luxury FMCG sectors. I became self-employed in 2004, I whilst I was in a standard 9 to 5 management role, a role in which many people my age would have been happy to have stayed in for many years. It was an interesting position with lots of responsibility, however I became a robot, unhappy with what my job was turning me into, I was stressed and would often take that stress home with me. My life lacked dynamism and to some extent purpose. I felt strongly that I was not following my true life’s purpose and so I made a choice to start my own business.

What do you find most rewarding about being an entrepreneur and working in Africa?

There is a sense of freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur, you can create something from nothing and that allows you to be creative in many respects however that is not to lose sight of the fact that all of your clients are in essence your “bosses”. But it can be very rewarding to work with so many dynamic clients particularly across the African diaspora who add a cultural nuance to projects which is unique and refreshing.

What advice would you give to young members of the African diaspora who are interested in starting a business in Africa?

Research, Prepare and have a support network. Many of my clients are members of the diaspora but when I have worked with clients on the continent preparation is key. You cannot go back with the view to change things immediately – that diasporan arrogance must be left at the arrivals gate, be willing to learn and engage with people on the ground and be patient. Great things take time.

What do you think are some of the key barriers in preventing people to starting their own businesses?

Finance is a major barrier and poor financial education, not enough people know where to go for advice on investment and scaling up. A lack of understanding of the importance of investing in PR, marketing, customer research – without even a basic understanding businesses fail before they start. Overall the biggest barrier is fear, too often fear holds people back from taking that first step.

Onyekachi Wambu attends the Africa Philanthropy Network Series in Mauritius

AFFORD’s Executive Director Onyekachi Wambu attended the Africa Philanthropy Network Series in Mauritius from 8th-9th November 2018. The event was organised to create a space for experienced and new philanthropy leaders who want to engage in conversation that would enrich each others’ understanding and practice on African philanthropy by developing and an African-generated and African-owned narrative about different forms and models of philanthropy in Africa.

Onyekachi Wambu attended the second day of the conference and spoke about how we can leverage diaspora time, money and skills for the development of African philanthropy beyond remittances with Amaha Kassa, founder and director of diaspora led organisation based in the USA African Communities Together

Find out more about the event by clicking here. 


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