AFFORD News

AFFORD celebrates 25 years of diaspora impact in Africa with a conference focused on the role of the diaspora in financing major infrastructural development

In July 2019, AFFORD marks its 25th anniversary with a call to the African diaspora to do more for the growth and development of Africa. Going beyond sending money home, the diaspora should now seek opportunities that will target key strategic sectors in order to transform Africa in the next 25 years.

Co-founders Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie and Nicholas Atampurge created AFFORD in 1994 with a clear mission to establish an organisation that advocated for the role of diaspora in African and international development. Since then, AFFORD has played a key role in presenting solutions and innovative programmes that bring together diaspora and the diverse and important institutional development stakeholders. Our extensive knowledge of diaspora investments, remittances, and fund structures, include the ‘RemitPlus™ Diaspora Finance Report (2011)’, which provided outlines for African Diaspora Bonds, Diaspora Mutual Fund, Diaspora SME Fund, and Diaspora Bank Accounts. That 2011 report influenced many processes, policies and practices including the: AU Global African Diaspora Summit (2012); UN High Level Dialogue on Migration (2013); Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development (2015); Joint Valletta Action Plan (2015); target 10.7 of Sustainable development Goals (2015); Paragraph 35 and 44 of the recently concluded UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (13 July 2018); and the £2.9 million diaspora finance element of the Comic Relief/UKAid funded Common Ground Initiative (CGI) Programme, the largest diaspora finance programme to date.

As it looks to the next 25 years, AFFORD strongly believes that there is potential for facilitating greater Diaspora Direct Investment (DDI)  into Africa in order to help meet the continent’s growing infrastructure and energy needs.  

DDI will be part of an innovative use of blended finance with new philanthropic models, and to develop new models of public-private-partnership that will be needed to achieve ambitious SDG poverty reduction targets.

Executive Director Onyekachi Wambu said;

“In the first 25 years, we brought the diaspora together, expanded on and enhanced major contributions through remittances and skills transfer that they were already making to Africa’s development. AD3 2019 will begin the work of the next 25 years, exploring how the diaspora can make a strategic impact through different forms of financial instruments that could be created and harnessed to maximise African diaspora investment for development”.

He continued: “Now in its 19th year, AD3 is recognized as an agenda setting space, bringing together leaders and influencers from the African diaspora community and policymakers, to learn, share and enhance the prospects for investments into key African sectors. It also serves as a platform for influential African voices to inform and mobilise these audiences in the UK for significant action.”

Highlights/Editor’s notes

AFFORD was established in 1994, with a mission “to expand and enhance the contributions Africans in the diaspora make to African development”. Priority projects and activities are focused on diaspora contributions to job creation through African enterprise development. AFFORD’s innovative approach mobilises the financial, intellectual, and political assets of the African diaspora and channels them to drive economic growth and social development in Africa. It also enhances the capacity of actual and potential investors and actively influences international policies to create an enabling investment climate. AFFORD’s mission is achieved through programmes and projects undertaken solely or in collaboration with partners in Africa, the U.K, E.U and other parts of the world. These projects and programmes fall within the following overlapping themes:

  • Investment, Enterprise & Employment
  • Diaspora Engagement, Network Building & Training Services
  • Learning & Policy Advocacy

For more enquiries contact the AFFORD communications team on 020 3326 3750 or email us at info@afford-uk.org

Report Launched: Visa Problems for African Visitors to the UK

“Home Office data on visa refusals shows that African applicants are more than twice as likely to be refused a UK visa than applicants from any other part of the world.  The UK has good relations with most African countries, but it needs to be recognised that no single issue does more damage to the image or influence of the UK in Africa than this visa question.”

The report: ‘Visa Problems for African Visitors to the UK’ launched on 16th July 2019 in the House of Commons,  is the result of a joint investigation began in December 2018 by the All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) for Africa, APPG for Diaspora, Development and Migration and APPG for Malawi.

The report revealed that the UK visa system for is inaccessible to many Africans, under-resourced, unaccountable and widely perceived as biased or even discriminating against Africans.

Chi Onwurah MP, Chair of the APPG for Africa commented: “at a time when the UK needs to be ‘open for business’, the broken visas system is doing severe damage to UK-Africa relations across a variety of sectors. As well as our relations, it damages our economy and society. It is embarrassing, patronising and insulting to African applicants and leaves the slogan of “Global Britain” empty and meaningless.”

 The report identifies the real costs to British business, academia, arts and culture from the current dysfunctional system, and puts forward a series of achievable recommendations to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to help them respond to concerns raised by the findings. These include the following:

  1. Expedited application processes for those applicants who currently have to travel to a neighbouring country to apply and/or be interviewed for a visa
     
  2. Clearer information to visa applicants on visa application processes and requirements, especially in terms of supporting documents that must be submitted by the applicant.
     
  3. Where decision-making is fully digitized, ensure documents are scanned in the country of application.
     
  4. Opening more Visa Application Centres (VACs) in countries where they are not currently sited. 

Comments and reflections from guests at the launch included shock, embarrassment and disappointment that recommendations made as far back as 2011 had not been implemented by the Home Office.

“Like the Windrush scandal, it has been shocking documenting the humiliating, expensive and painful experiences suffered by Africans wanting to visit the UK. We hope these recommendations will be quickly implemented and level playing field created for African visitors to the UK”, added AFFORD Executive Director, Onyekachi Wambu.

NOTES:

The report is a joint collaboration between:

  1. ‘Read and download the full Visa Problems for African Visitors to the UK report here https://afford-uk.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/APPG-Report-on-Visa-problems-for-African-visitors-to-the-UK.pdf
  2. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Africa (APPG-Africa) exists to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships between Africa and the UK and works to further understanding within UK parliament of contemporary African and Pan-African matters. The APPG-Africa creates space for parliamentarians to engage in dialogue with African diaspora, civil society, institutions, thought leaders and private sector to promote African led-development agendas and challenge negative stereotypes through positive relationships between the UK and African countries. And with a membership of over 200 parliamentarians from across-parties and houses, it is one of the largest and most active APPGs in UK parliament. The group is chaired by Chi Onwurah MP & Lord David Chidgey. The Royal African Society provide the secretariat. www.royalafricansociety.org/appg-africa | @AfricaAPPG
  3. All Party Parliamentary Group for Diaspora, Development & Migration (The APPG-DDM) aims to promote parliamentary and public understanding of the key issues affecting diaspora communities in the UK, and to expand and enhance their contributions to the international development agenda. APPG- DDM works to connect parliamentarians with diaspora organisations, academics and civil society groups to inform policy on how diaspora contributions can be harnessed for a greater impact, especially at a time when migration issues are surrounded by negative rhetoric. Chair of APP-DDM is Jeremey Lefroy, MP and Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick. AFFORD provides the secretariat for APPG-DDM. www.afford-uk.org
  4. The Malawi APPG exists to promote understanding and awareness among parliamentarians, positive relations between our countries, and provide a forum for discussion on relevant issues affecting politics, society, culture and the economy in Malawi. It brings together MPs and Peers from across the UK with a particular interest in UK-Malawi relations. Scotland Malawi partnership provides the secretariat for Malawi APPG. www.scotland-malawipartnership.org/get-involved/malawi-appg/

For enquires contact the AFFORD Communications Team on 020 3326 3750 or email info@afford-uk.org

AFFORD Appoints First Woman Chair

AFFORD is pleased to announce that Ndidi Njoku has been elected as Chair by the AFFORD board of trustees with immediate effect. Ndidi has been a Board member since 2014 and replaces Ade Daramy who stepped down after 3 years.

Currently, Ndidi works in the Global Banking and Markets division at a global investment firm, where she has held several global and regional roles.

Having held a number of high profiled positions, Ndidi began her career as a regulatory specialist at the UK utility regulator Ofgem, where she analysed modifications to the gas and electricity infrastructure and trading arrangements, and developed Ofgem’s view on areas including Reconciliation by Difference.

As a DIFID consultant, she worked on Migration and Development issues, including the role of the Diaspora, and Branchless Banking as part of the Financial Sector Team; which included monitoring the impact of MPESA.

Between 2011-12 Ndidi was seconded to HM Treasury (HMT) to lead the MIFID II review of the commodities derivatives; negotiating the UK’s position in Europe.   

From 2007 to 2014 at the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Ndidi worked on the FCA’s wholesale conduct agenda, leading the FCA’s supervisory review of MIFID and contributing to policy work on a number of areas, including conflicts of interest, wholesale inducements and use of dealing commission/investment research. 

Ndidi has held several other advisory positions and is the MD of Markets4Development (M4D), a philanthropic company which facilitates entrepreneurs, market development and trade to African countries.

Ndidi says:

“I am honoured and delighted to be appointed as Chair of AFFORD, and further proud to be its first woman Chair.  I look forward to working more closely with the AFFORD team and its partners, as we further accelerate work on sustainable finance projects in Africa.

 “I am hugely grateful and thankful to Ade for the work he has done, providing leadership for AFFORD with such grace and patience during his time as Chair. Ade’s passion, knowledge and expertise have been fundamental to our development and growth and, although stepping down given his plans to relocate to Gambia following retirement Ade will remain on the Board providing an on the ground African perspective into Board deliberations.”

Onyekachi Wambu, Executive Director, AFFORD, says:

“We are delighted that Ndidi remains at AFFORD as Chair. The role of Chair is all about strategy, scrutiny and support. Ndidi brings with her a wealth of experience including strong analytical, management and leadership skills. This is particularly important at a time when AFFORD celebrates 25 years of its continued mission to expand and enhance the contributions Africans in the diaspora make to African development and as it accelerates its work on facilitating contributions of the Diaspora on sustainable finance projects.”

As a diaspora led charity based in the UK, AFFORD supports over 80 businesses investing in Africa and has itself invested over £1 million in business support and job creation initiatives across a number of countries, creating over 1000 jobs in the process.

For enquires contact the AFFORD Communications Team on 020 3326 3750 or email info@afford-uk.org

ABC Connect: Business of Food

Our ABC Connect: The Business of Food event brought together some key players in the Africa diaspora food industry, along with aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners. We heard from Emeka Frederick of Chuku’s London on his successful crowdfunding campaign for a permanent restaurant, and Dare Oni of Onidodo on her creative process when creating Nigerian-fusion dishes. Both shared great advice and tips with attendees, and it was a wonderful evening of networking and learning.

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:

AFFORD

Claude Rutsinzi – Principal Researcher

Email: clauder@virginmedia.com

Paul Asquith – Reseach Coordinator

Email: paul@afford-uk.org

Tel +44 (0)203 326 3750

IOM UK

Sia Kondeh – Project Assistant

Email: skondeh@iom.int

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. 

 

AFFORD attends the Mixed Migration Conference in Copenhagen

AFFORD’s Deputy Executive Director Stella Opoku- Owusu attended the Mixed Migration conference, hosted by the Danish Refugee Council & Mixed Migration Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark on 9th November 2018. The conference bought together practitioners, policy makers and researchers to address the often-simplified narratives of drivers and aspirations of migration in Europe. Ms Opoku-Owusu was part of a panel focusing on the drivers and aspirations of migration from the perspective of the African diaspora and development. A variety of organisations attended, these included:

Find out more about the event by clicking here.

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