The Promota Magazine
Publisher’s Letter – issue 29
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” Albert Einstein
10 years ago, Africans making a move to relocate back to Africa was practically unheard of, unless they had been deported by the host country. During my time as an ethnic marketing consultant to companies interested in engaging with the African community in the Diaspora, I would normally be asked why there was a decline in using a certain service or product.
Analysing surveys, we concluded that actually, Africans were going back in large numbers and that the influencing factors are relative to so many other conditions. “With the economic crisis here in Western countries, there has been widespread loss of jobs [and] careers,” says Frank Anderson, a Ghanaian who lives in Britain. Ghanaians “… are beginning to see the need to look back home.”
However, many of these going back soon return to their ‘host country’ after a few years, thus proving that those who stay did some good research before making the move, and are also armed with resilience. Africa offers vast opportunities to Diasporans but there are a lot of pitfalls too. Integrity and honesty seems to be lacking among some family and friends in Africa, and others who will do anything to defraud anyone who is seeking their advice or business support.
Diasporans all over the world have set up platforms, conventions and forums to help fill a void for Diasporans living in Europe, so they can communicate with one another and assist those entrepreneurs looking to return to Africa to start a business or settle. Together with a group of well-wishers, I set up a Ugandan Convention, an annual event that has exceeded our expectations and is becoming a platform for those willing to relocate. Africa’s economic performance over the past years has made Africa a financially attractive continent, where an increasing number of Africans want to return to invest, and it is therefore imperative for Africans to utilise these platforms, seeking advice before making the final move.
The questions Africans in the Diaspora need to ask themselves are: is the exodus sustainable?, can we stay and persevere with the corruption, lack of infrastructure, dishonest people and that ever-present uncertainty that Africa can offer without coming back to the West? I believe the answer is clear; if Indians, Chinese and Westerners are looking at Africa and moving in, in large numbers, why not Africans? There is definitely an increase in people of African heritage wanting to ‘return home’. Having made the move, I can’t emphasise strongly enough the need for people to plan and prepare effectively. If you plan to invest your money, first of all, invest some time and effort into proper research. Asking friends and family won’t give you the whole picture ,so it is important to really invest in your future so you don’t waste time and money!
Every time I travel to Uganda, I meet colleagues from London complaining of one thing or another; my iPad has been snatched, renewing my passport takes months, I did a u-turn and the police detained me, and released me only after I paid a bribe, someone is building on my land, on and on… the list is endless. The simple advice to fellow Diasporans is this: take your time and learn how things are done instead of trying to impose the West’s way of doing things; this simply won’t work. Don’t romanticise ‘home’; instead, study it as you would any other major move you plan to make. Ask yourself this: “If I was planning to move to China, what checks and research would I do?” Moving back to a ‘home’ you left a long time ago should be no different.
It really is simple: fail to plan and you are planning to fail!
+44 7950 285 493