African Diaspora Defined

African UnionThe African Union (AU) recognizes the African Diaspora as the “Sixth Region” of the continent. The Executive Council of the AU, defines the African Diaspora as follows:

“The African Diaspora consists of peoples of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union.”

The Constitutive Act of the African Union expressly declares that it shall “invite and encourage the full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of our continent, in the building of the Continent and the African Union”. This definition comprises both the Non-Continental African Diaspora (the uniquely historical diaspora displaced by Maafa) and the Continental African Diaspora (the respective contemporary diasporas of African Union Member States living outside the Continent).

Diaspora Engagement

The Council works closely with African Diaspora groups across this definition and gives particular attention to the unique circumstances of the historical Diaspora. By bringing together established and emerging leaders from across the Diaspora, Council members discuss and advance solutions that empower their communities abroad and bridge access to finance, capital, markets, business skills, training, technology and other critical skills.

The vast and diverse historical diaspora (ranging from African-Americans, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Brazilians to other people of African origin throughout the Americas) has made undeniable cultural and economic impact on the world. Black influence on mainstream and popular culture is ingrained in every facet of life throughout the Americas, including music, fashion and sports, as well as social awareness and justice.

By identifying, understanding, registering and strengthening local Diaspora organizations and civil society organizations (CSOs), PAC serves as focal point for the validation of Diaspora organizations and networks as observers, delegates and participants at AU Summit and other meetings. The Council classifies Diaspora groups in the following general categories:

  • Diaspora in Business, Finance & Entrepreneurship
  • Diaspora in Politics/Public Office
  • Diaspora in Civil Society
  • Diaspora in Health, Science, Technology, & Innovation
  • Diaspora in Media, Arts, and Culture

Mapping the Non-Continental African Diaspora
(Historical Diaspora)

Continental governing bodies such as the AU have a strategic advantage in engaging the historic diaspora (the majority of which possess no clearly defined ties to any specific AU member state) over national diaspora groups, insomuch as an institution it is better placed to deal with this group of the diaspora directly. Individual member states will have greater difficulty incorporating Diaspora groups with no clearly defined ties to any specific AU member state, though some exceptions such as Ghana and Senegal have also made significant progress engaging historical Diasporas in this regard.

PAC contributes to the bridging and rebuilding the global African family in the service of the development and integration agenda of the continent and meaningfully engages the Sixth Economic Region to this end.

African Diaspora Mapping