“He who sets on a long journey, does not put a banana to toast under the ashes”
~ African Proverb ~
What is it? Africans living abroad often maintain strong economic, social and political connections with their country of origin. This is what we refer to as immigrant transnationalism. Transnational immigrants maintain life across two or more countries simultaneously, often out of necessity, but at times by choice.
Why does it matter? Transnationalism is a way of life for African immigrants in the Western world. While the level of transnationalism may vary among individuals, a vast majority of African immigrants maintain strong ties with the motherland. Transnationalism is a core part of their identity.
Transnationalism has it’s advantages and challenges. African immigrants in the Western world tend to have a love and hate relationship with their motherland. While most immigrants want to invest back home, they often struggle to establish trustworthy relationships with individuals and institutions on the continent. At the same time, the entities they are dealing with in their country of origin may not fully appreciate the needs of the diaspora. This often leads to unproductive relationships and stymies the value of contributions African immigrants could be making in the development of their motherland.
Understanding the underlying dynamics, factors and implications of transnationalism is critical in improving the productivity of relationship that Africa has with its emerging crop of new diaspora. To nurture the goose that lays the golden egg, Africa will need to look beyond remittances and effectively address the frustrations African immigrants face in maintaining ties to the continent.
What we do: Neo African Diaspora is a dedicated space for mapping out and analyzing the challenges and opportunities African immigrants encounter in maintaining ties to their countries of origin. This includes assessing issues related to relationships with family and friends, managing investments, accessing government services, political engagement etc. By engaging with stakeholders, we hope to identify solutions that can make transnationalism less frustrating and more productive for African immigrants in the Western world. Through dialogue and research, we aim to influence policy, business practices and societal values to enable win-win relationships between African immigrants and the people and institutions they deal with on their countries of origin.
Our blogs and podcast episodes under the Transnationalism theme are divided into the following categories:
- Economic Transnationalism – covers anything to do with money including investment, financial services, remittances, etc.
- Social-Cultural Transnationalism – covers issues related to how immigrants relate with friends and social-cultural trends back in their country of origin.
- Family Ties – covers issues related to how immigrants relate with their relatives including how they contribute to the upkeep of their parents, siblings and other extended family members.
- Home Visits – covers issues related to diaspora visiting their country of origin for brief periods.
- Repatriation – covers issues related to immigrants and diaspora going back to their country of origin to live there.
- Political Transnationalism – covers issues related to immigrants and diaspora getting involved in political discourse in their country of origin.
Whether you are a transnational African immigrant or a stakeholder keen on the topic, we welcome you to journey with us.