They are French, binational and dynamic. They are moving Africa, and perhaps also political lines. The diaspora, highlighted at the recent Africa-France summit, is at the heart of Paris’ strategy to reinvent the continent.
Play the role of ambassador on the continent? No problem for Matina Razafimahefa. This founder of the first digital school in Madagascar was one of the 3,000 guests at the Africa-France Summit in Montpellier. She believes that the diaspora can act as a link between Paris and the continent. “She can develop her country of origin while staying in France,” the young French-Malagasy told RFI. “When they return home, the diaspora can show what it is like in Europe and help achieve international standards. All this competence transfer seems important to me. ”
President Emmanuel Macron he repeated in Montpellier: the diasporas “bring life” to the new relationship between France and Africa and are “entirely French”, he insisted.
Some saw it as a speech by a president at the beginning of the campaign. “There are some diasporas who are skeptical, they have the impression of having fallen into a trap,” said Roland Portella, president of the economic clubCoordination for tomorrow’s Africa (Cade). “We need these diasporas,” he adds, “to play politics, to make a semblance of productive investment, but in the end, where there really are pockets of growth, pockets of wealth, these diasporas are not there.”
The same applies to Dogad Dogoui, Chair of the SME Support Platform, Africa SMB Forum, which requires more recognition. “The African diaspora in France is French,” he said, “so it plays in the country’s interest. On the other hand, she is of African descent, so she wants a balanced approach. It can not only be in the words, it must be visible in the structuring, in the meetings. ”
Take first place At the end of the summit on Friday, Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of a house with African worlds and diasporas in the heart of Paris. He also realized that there was a need to appoint more people from the diasporas in the administration.
Dogad Dogoui also asks for action. “Involve the diaspora when you go to markets in Africa. Involve the diaspora in discussions with French interests and African interests, it must be fully involved in the game and not be in foldable places,” the French-Ivorian claims. And to add: “That means it has the first place because they are the ones who will be able to, open the doors to tomorrow’s French economy.”
Brakes She must still have the means. “If these diasporas do not have a vehicle of their own or investment infrastructure, what can they do?” Asks Roland Portella de la Cade. The leader points out that the diasporas in French-speaking countries do not yet perform socially and technically when they go to their country of origin. “In English-speaking African countries,” he explains, “things go much further. There are contractors at a very high level and a qualified demand, whether it is Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya or Tanzania. ”
To support entrepreneurship, France presented a € 10 million fund to help innovative African companies in the digital sector. “We see that there is a desire to change things,” admits Matina Razafimahefa, who appreciated the exchanges between African and French companies. “After that, we have to succeed and we have to push the collaboration forward,” concludes Sayna’s founder.