Foreign Minister Gadio gives composition of Diaspora

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- In an interview with PANA on the eve of the 2003 Sun City-held summit, Senegalese Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio said the interest attached to the Diaspora was "to turn it into a sixth natural, historic, political, affective, and intellectual region of the continent".
Answering a question about the peoples concerned, the Senegalese minister stressed that black people in America and the West Indies were not the only members of the Diaspora, contrary to what people may think.
Black people in Peru, Colombia, Cuba and Brazil are also concerned, Gadio added.
However, black people left the US and crossed the border to settle in Canada, and African migrants went abroad for a better living after the African countries' independence.
However, there is a double African Diaspora: "the historical one made up of people whose ancestors were brutally snatched from their continent for centuries", and "they claim to be our representatives while we are their representatives.
" Then, there is the modern Diaspora, including the "Americans from Nigeria, Europeans from Senegal, Dutch from Cameroon, Swedish from Gambia, but also the Algerians in France, Moroccans and Tunisians in Spain and Italy, or even the 200,000 Egyptian executives, doctors, engineers and researchers living and working in North America.
According to Gadio, those people concerned welcomed the initiative, which is some recognition of their existence, but also their involvement in the march of their home continent.
"They are aware that something is going on and applaud it heartily".
About South Africa's contribution, Gadio admitted that this country's experience, with its local black, but also mixed-raced, European-white and Indian people, would be one of the most decisive in the conduct of the debate on the Diaspora's part in Africa's development.
But, Gadio said, how complex the situations in South Africa or elsewhere on the continent may be, namely in the north, where many Arab people have been living, who historically came from Arabia (like the Senegalese of Lebanese extraction), the aim is to show them that it is not a debate between Africa and America.
"We do not intend to make the United States admit that it has a part of our Diaspora in its territory and must therefore be more generous to the continent, but our aim is only to compensate an omission," Gadio said.
"After they helped build many countries and nations, of which they are entitled to be full citizens, those women and men who often left in very difficult conditions from the continent are absolutely right to develop a particular affection for Africa," he added.
And for this reason, he indicated, African people must give them a warm welcome and develop with them new forms of cooperation, beyond the sentimental aspect, to be expressed through their involvement in the scientific, technologic and medical development strategies.

06 october 2004 22:48:00

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