African Union Permanent Representative to the United States, Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao has called on Africans in the Diaspora to sit up and pay more attention finding solutions to challenges that affect them and those on the continent, instead of focusing on attacking and maligning each other.
Ambassador Chihombori-Quao was speaking at a meeting of the Pan African Unity Dialogue (PAUD) a composition of leaders from various Diaspora groups, in New York. PAUD’s goal is to achieve social, economic and political empowerment for people of African descent, Black people, in the U.S. and the global Black community. The meeting, chaired by Dr. Ron Daniels, was held to mark the Annual Marcus Garvey Commemoration. Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican-born black nationalist who was active in both Jamaica and the United States and was a strong activist against injustice and racism.
Ambassador Arikana, who was accompanied by AU communication expert Maureen Nkandu and Melvin Foote, Founder and CEO, Constituency for Africa, said that it is sad that Africans have not paid attention to issues that divide from that culminate from the Berlin Conference on 1884 -5, which gave birth to colonization, plunder of and imperialism in Africa.
“They cut Africa up and divided us up like a piece of pie, with the aim of making us week and disjointed. We have to unite, identify our strength and stop fighting and ignoring each other but rather focus on tapping into the mineral and human resources we have so that we rebuild our ours back into a dignified and respectable race,” said Ambassador Arikana. She added that people of African descent in the Diaspora will never achieve full respect, dignity, and empowerment until Africa, the motherland is accepted as the “primary anchor” of people of African descent everywhere. “All other races have anchors and they tap into where they came from. Why should Africans not do the same?” she asked.
More than sixty participants attended the meeting. Key speakers included Dr. Donna Hunte-Cox, Consul General for Barbados and H.E. Sidique Wai, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador-Designate to the United States, who himself was a Diaspora leader and member of PAUD before his diplomatic appointment.
In a vote of thanks, Revered Dennis Dillon, a leading member of the PAUD applauded the Ambassador Chihombori-Quao’s presentation as extremely timely considering Africa’s growing importance on the world stage. He cited the fact that Europe’s population is declining while Africa’s will soon grow to more than two billion! He also cited data from the State of Economic Black World Report which indicates that if Black America were considered a nation, it’s gross domestic product would make it the eighth largest nation in the world!
The meeting resolved to strengthen partnership mainly around areas of visibility and outreach as well as continued dialogue to explore avenues for collaboration in supporting the Ambassador’s Diaspora economic vision.