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Homeland orientation requires some loyalty to, or recognition of, a real or imagined homeland from which flow value, identity and loyalty. Boundary maintenance involves maintaining an identity distinct from that of the host society, which can be done by resisting assimilation into the host society through self-segregation, or can be an unintended consequence of social exclusion Brubaker Into this frame, there developed — or was constituted — an African diaspora.

It is also an analytical term permitting discourse about black communities across territorial borders Patterson and Kelley This diaspora, however, is not a nation. As Patterson and Kelley note:. This understanding of the diaspora, as people who have been dispersed beyond the territorial borders of their country, but who retain some loyalties for the country that they came from, and who, in their new habitat retain also some social exclusiveness, frames the emergence of the notion of a diplomacy of the diaspora. The diplomacy of the diaspora is not the normal state-centric diplomacy. It is more in the nature of sustainable diplomacy Constantinou and Der Derian , to the extent that it tries to bring concerned non-state actors into an arena where diplomatic strategies of state are formulated and implemented.

In this diplomacy, the diaspora is brought into the diplomatic mainstream both as addressees of diplomatic policy, and as participants in the diplomatic — and foreign — policy-making processes. In diaspora diplomacy the role and the social, economic and political welfare of the diaspora as citizens take centre stage.

In the context of the AU, but also in that of an individual state, diplomacy of the diaspora will constitute, to paraphrase Cross :.

Citizens in the [African Union] can serve as cultural ambassadors. The essence of the diplomacy of the diaspora is to enhance and maintain the linkages between members of the diaspora and citizens in the home state, and especially to encourage the diaspora to participate in economic and political processes in the home country. This happens through creating policy incentives for the diaspora, and loosening bureaucratic hurdles to their participation, both politically and economically. It is also done through establishing structures specifically meant to address diaspora issues, such as diaspora departments in ministries of foreign affairs such as in Kenya and organs like a ministry of the diaspora relations as exists in Ghana.

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The opening up of the diplomatic space for the diaspora leads to the realisation of another political role for the diaspora. The numbers of the diaspora of some countries like Kenya are significant enough to decide an election, especially a presidential election, if they were allowed to vote. Opening the diplomatic space entails loosening the impediments to their political participation, especially in voting during general elections. The rationale of AU diplomacy of the diaspora is to provide leverage to the African diaspora and make it a cornerstone of African integration and development.

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So important is the diaspora to the AU that its constitutive act has been amended to bring in a new article — allowing the organisation to invite and encourage full participation of the African diaspora as an important part of the continent. It is also thought that the African diaspora contains a huge talent bank which, if nurtured by the AU, can enable African development to shift to the next level Ogom While AU diplomacy of the diaspora is at once a diplomacy with and about an outside actor, it is also a diplomacy with an inside actor in the sense that the AU considers the diaspora to be the sixth economic region of the continent.

This definition has been criticised for being so utilitarian that it excludes people who are in the diaspora, but have no means to contribute financially to the union Omeje —7. In any event, the spending power of the African diaspora is gross spending power of individuals and institutions. It does not take into account that the net spending power is less and is also constrained by other needs of the individuals and institutions. The African diaspora is very wide. It includes not only those of African origin living outside the continent, but also those who may not even hold the nationality of an African country, but who consider themselves to have an African ancestry Omeje This diaspora consists of two quite different components.

This consists of those black people who were taken into slavery, ending up in the Americas, Caribbean and other places Black The second component of the African diaspora are those contemporary Africans who have dispersed outside their home countries in the last sixty or so years. By and large, this group left voluntarily for education, and later in search of greener pastures.

This group is now in the third generation of diasporahood, and still largely retains roots and ties to the home country. The AU should concentrate its diplomacy on the first of these diaspora groups, namely, the historic diaspora. It should do so because as an institution, it is better placed to deal with this group of the diaspora directly.

As an organisation, it is less encumbered in bringing this diaspora into the frame of its development and other operations, which its individual member states might be unable to do. Because it has a certain competitive advantage over its member states in dealing with this sort of group, it should concentrate its diplomatic energies there.

The main question about dealing with this historical diaspora is whether it still retains a sense of connection with the continent. The historical diaspora was not itself ever in Africa, let alone having been born there.

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It is a diaspora in support and remembrance of ancestors who were removed from the continent. Its diasporic relationship is also with the continent, rather than with a particular African country. This raises issues about its commitment to the continent — for how long it will last, and whether it will be strong enough to convince that diaspora to engage in the enterprises that the AU has planned for them. The situation is different for the contemporary members of the African diaspora. This group left voluntarily, and still maintains close ties with the home country and with family members.

Also, this group of diasporians supports family members through remittances to pay for school fees, development projects and the like. The group has members who are not only regular visitors back home, but who have also decided to invest back home. This is the group that individual governments target in their diplomacy of the diaspora. Since governments have discovered the potential of their own diasporas, some — like Kenya — have begun to harness them in their foreign policy and diplomacy Mwagiru Because this is a matter that is being done in the national interests of the different member states, it is not an area that the AU should get into.

The organisation is in any case a servant of the member states and should therefore not be seen to be competing with them, especially in areas that member states consider crucial for their own development. If the AU involved itself in the diplomacy of the diaspora targeting the contemporary African diaspora, it would also create conflict of interest problems with the member states, and this would not augur well for their mutual relations. This quite extensive load for this diplomacy however also involves some more non-diplomatic themes and issues AU Although it is not stated directly, it would seem that the AU indeed has in mind the historic diaspora as the platform for its diplomacy of the diaspora.

In terms of political cooperation, it intends to appoint diaspora experts meaning experts from the diaspora and to give preferential treatment to diaspora populations AU This kind of positioning can only be contemplated for the historic diaspora. Such positioning cannot work for the contemporary African diaspora because it would raise too many issues and create too many conflicts with which even governments have found it difficult to deal.

The Old World in the New: Performing Diaspora

Were preferential treatment to be offered to the contemporary diaspora, the thorny issue would be raised about whether individuals must first leave their country for them to be offered incentives. The economic partnerships envisaged require capital, and it is therefore in order to develop facilities to mobilise such capital. However, the issue of financial remittances should be left to the individual governments that deal with their own diasporas. Financial remittances in this context mean payments by members of a diaspora either directly to their families or for individual projects.

The historic diaspora cannot send similar remittances since they have no families in the continent.

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It would also be unwise for the AU to compete with governments over the collection of such remittances. However, there also exist social remittances, which involve the transfer of ideas, values, and norms Levitt For many analysts in Africa and elsewhere, the diaspora of an African country consists only of those who have migrated outside Africa. Those who have gone to work or settled in other African countries are not considered to constitute a diaspora and are classified as migrants, refugees, asylumees, exiles, guest workers and the like.

Even otherwise articulate analysts such as Omeje run into the same problem. He argues that there are three main categories of African diaspora: the descendants of the generations who were removed from Africa through slavery; late colonial and early post-independence emigrants to the west who left in search of education and green pastures; and those more recent ones who left, fleeing from socio-economic decline, wars, persecution and poverty in their countries, and who diversified diasporic destinations by going to destinations like Australia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Russia Omeje —8.

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This categorisation does not include those who left their countries and settled in other African countries. These have been characterised, not as members of a diaspora but as intra-African migrants — including voluntary labour, refugees and asylumees in the continent. It should however not be thought that an African can only be a part of a diaspora if he or she leaves Africa and moves to Europe or to America.

The definition of diaspora emphasises dispersal and especially the crossing of territorial borders. Once people cross territorial borders, they meet an important criterion for membership of the diaspora. It is not necessary that a person must have crossed continental borders to qualify as a member of the diaspora. And yet this seems to be the dominant trend of thinking amongst those who have not recognised an intra-African diaspora.

Besides this, the definition of diaspora does not take into account the financial or economic status of the members of the diaspora. This same mistake underlies national discourses on the diaspora. In Kenya for example, there has been a lot of discussion and policy movement on the diaspora agenda. But this agenda is hedged by the fact that the diaspora being discussed is that which exists in the United States, Europe, Canada, and countries outside the continent.

It also seems to be assumed that the much talked about skills that the Kenyan diaspora possesses are skills apparently monopolised by the diaspora in America and Europe and not by the one in southern Africa or the Horn of Africa.

This fallacious reasoning is reminiscent of the old colonial attitude that what was white was best. The AU should not make the same mistake in its diplomacy of the diaspora. In its current practice of diasporic diplomacy, it is evident that it is assumed that the relevant diaspora can only be that which exists outside the borders of the continent. This is a fair enough self-limitation. Two things need to be said about it however. Firstly, this limitation of the diaspora that is the subject of AU diplomacy must accommodate to the understanding that the people of African descent living outside the continent are the historical African diaspora, and not the contemporary one.

Apart from the reasons given earlier why the AU diaspora diplomacy should only deal with the historic diaspora, it would also be grossly unjust for the AU to choose favourites amongst contemporary African diasporas. It would also be inequitable for the organisation to be seen to be making the claim that it is solely interested in the African diaspora who have crossed the continental borders, and not those who have only crossed territorial but not continental borders.

The second point that needs to be made is that diplomacy of the diaspora such as the one that the AU is practising, should ideally be all-inclusive of the categories of the diaspora. Even if it does not wish for whatever reason to engage with the intra-African diaspora, it nevertheless needs to flag it, so that its diaspora policies can be seen to be inclusive. This is not very difficult to do. The AU deals with the issues of migration, and indeed has a policy on migration in Africa. The addressees of the policy are also the addressees of the content of AU diplomacy of the diaspora.

For the sake of completion, this quite important diaspora of the African states requires inclusion — or mention — in the context of AU diasporic diplomacy. AU diplomacy of the diaspora does not mention, or seem to intend to take account of, the diasporas of other countries that are living in Africa.