Koolute at the African Diaspora Investment Network Alliance (ADINA) Summit
Our CEO, Cannelle Maricaux graced the stage to share her thoughts at the ADINA (African Diaspora Investment Network Alliance) Conference on how the millions of Africans living outside the continent could fuel a development boom of epic proportions, as well as the opportunities and possibilities that exist when the ideas and efforts converge.
Cannelle participated in this conversation alongside Walid Hareb ALFalahi & UAE Trade Center - CEO of “Dubai Consultancy” Ghana Investment promotion Center - Yofi Grant, & His Excellency Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi - United Arab Emirates' Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Yaa Asantewa Asante (Juliet Asante) - Executive Secretary, National Film Authority.
Top Insights from Cannelle’s Contribution to the Conversations at the ADINA Summit
- The African Diaspora is working, setting up businesses and studying globally and represents Africa’s “secret weapon”. So large and important is Africa’s diaspora that the African Union officially declared it the continent’s “sixth region” after East, West, North, Central and Southern Africa.
- Per SENEGAL’s Country Monitor on Migration & Remittance Report for April 2021 developed by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Senegal is among the top remittance receiving African countries (with Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana). 10.7% Remittances to GDP Ratio.
In 2019, immigrants in the United States sent $46 billion in remittances to their home countries in Africa, out of a total of $150 billion sent from the United States globally. In 2017, $85 million in remittances was sent from the United States to Senegal, the seventh-most of any country. This represents about 4 percent of the $2.2 billion Senegal receives as remittances, which together account for 10.7% of Senegalese GDP.
- More than remittances, other diaspora impacts are overwhelmingly positive. Africans who come back home return as global citizens with relevant educational and professional experience that it takes to transform sectors. As ambassadors for Africa in developed countries, the diaspora play critical roles in deepening trade ties, and boosting investment in the continent, creating afro-centric solutions across industries & educating the world with a resilient Africa Narrative.
Cannelle noted some game-changing ideas she believes would be critical to channeling diaspora efforts to drive accelerated economic growth in Africa:
- Deepening our commitment to telling stories of a resilient Africa. This will inadvertently create a strong investment culture that will see investments in infrastructure, business growth, and not just personal remittances.
- Using technology to eliminate the distance, showcase local opportunities easier, and create platforms for high-skilled individuals familiar with the socioeconomic context in Africa to collectively channel their expertise. With the blockchain for instance, Koolute is making it easier for anyone to invest in the property market in Senegal, and soon much of Francophone West Africa, and beyond.
- Improving the ease and reducing the cost of sending money to and within Africa. In 2020, Sub-Saharan Africa recorded the highest average remittance costs in the world at about 9%; nearly three times the target laid out in the SDGs. Partnering with Banks and Telcos to capture opportunities at scale would boost global remittances to Africa. Reduced costs will spark increased cross border trade, and we are optimistic about the work being done with the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, as well as PAPSS (Pan African Payment and Settlement System) by AFREXIM Bank.
- Forward-thinking policymaking can be instrumental to directing and protecting investments in key sectors; think property funds, health funds, agriculture, manufacturing, education, tourism and more. We are playing a critical role here in real estate.
- Ease of doing business needs a huge rethink. Simplifying business regulations and instigating political and economic stability would create the enabling environments that drive venture growth and spur diasporans to set up businesses back home.
There is a call to francophone African leaders to create diverse opportunities for investment on the continent and break any barriers to expansion across culture and language. 92% of Africa’s investment in tech is captured by just four countries: Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa, according to Disrupt Africa. This is because their sizable populations and large GDPs make them attractive destinations for investment. It’s time to drive active representation on cross continental and global stages.
Our CEO had a great time swapping ideas with other stakeholders at the ADINA Summit and spotlighting Koolute’s efforts in driving shared prosperity across Francophone Africa and beyond. We appreciate Terry Afam for organizing this event and offering such a welcoming stage for such diverse and progressive perspectives.