Diasporas drove several major economic shifts at the end of the 20th century. Some experts believe that the tech industry boom in India was the result of its diaspora marshaling its resources. According to Harvard Business School professor Tarun Khanna, “the Silicon Valley Indians have forced India to come to terms with its diaspora and engage with it.” Similarly the economic output of the Chinese diaspora, valued at about $500 billion a year, has been greatly responsible for attracting foreign direct investment to China which has spurred its evolution into an economic superpower. The equivalent engagement of the African diaspora is a needed ingredient in our development and I think it is time individuals willing to do something about it get involved.
Harambe Endeavor Alliance is a collection of such individuals. Recently, I had the pleasure of learning about the efforts of this impressive organization. Just three years old, it is an alliance of African students and young professionals who have made it their mission to capture and harness Africa’s growing global diaspora of intellectual capital and channel it to the development of the continent. The organization includes members from top tier universities all over the world and who hail from 26 countries on the continent, a statistic I particularly liked as the continent is by no means monolithic.
Billed as the “Jazzy Cause” this was the first of a series of events that this group plans to hold in major cities around the world in the coming months. This New York event turned out to be an intimate occasion for a group of about 25 people who listened to the exquisite jazz of trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis. We were delighted to hear classics such as Louis Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world” and Duke Ellington’s “It don’t mean a thing.”
Harambe organized the event for two reasons. First Harambe’s leaders wanted to raise the awareness of the organization in the hope of enticing more young professionals to join their Angel network as a mentor or someone willing to contribute. The second reason was to rally support for the idea of a sustainability fund, similar to the Jewish National Fund. Harambe is currently in conversion with potential investors.
I thoroughly applaud the Harambe Endeavor Alliance and will continue to stay abreast of its progress. As the group continues to grow and gain more representation from the different countries on the continent, I hope that their network of schools grows as well. If you would like to be involved with this organization, I highly suggest that you check out theirwebsite or consider joining their Angel network to learn more about what you can do to help.
About the Author: Yakubu Budu-Saaka is a political science graduate of Oberlin College and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in media studies at the New School University in New York City. He has experience in finance as an equity analyst for Balyasny Asset Management, a Hedge Fund, and is currently exploring ways to use media as a primary tool to further the development of the African continent.