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African Diaspora is Important Economic Contribution to the Continent (FM)

The African Diaspora is an important economic contribution to the continent, said Thursday in Rabat, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita.

“During the decade 2010-2020, the African Diaspora has transferred more than 600 billion dollars, including 440 billion for sub-Saharan Africa and nearly 200 billion for the rest of Africa. This is a significant economic contribution that far exceeds the levels of development, even investment,” said Bourita in an address at the 5th meeting of the High Committee in charge of the agenda of the decade of African roots and Diaspora, held via videoconference.

This diaspora is an important asset not only on the economic side, but also in terms of the immaterial aspect with 150 million Africans in the Diaspora, he noted, adding that the last agreement on sustainable development has seen a progress of 6.2% for the African continent compared to a global average of 8 to 9% at the global level.

“The cost of these transfers to the African continent is unfairly high compared to other regions,” he lamented, noting that for $ 200 the African pays more than 8% while the global average is 6%.

“The objective that we have defined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (target #10 of the SDGs) is 3%. So we are very far from the multilateral goal defined in the framework of the United Nations,” he noted, stressing that this is a “burden for our Diaspora, for their families and for their country”.

That is why the meeting in Rabat was intended “a space to discuss this issue by building on everything that has been done so far and exploring other ways to try to find concrete solutions to this problem,” he explained.

In addition, the Minister welcomed the leadership of the Togolese Republic, reiterating the firm support of the Kingdom of Morocco for the fulfillment of its mandate at the head of this High Committee.

He recalled that the last AU summit in Addis Ababa was an important element since the Heads of State and Government expressed their support for all the work done and the report presented by the Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robert Dussey.

He also reiterated Morocco’s support for the organization by Togo next year of the event “Renewal of Pan-Africanism and Africa’s place in global governance: mobilizing resources and reinventing ourselves for action”, noting that this meeting “will further coordinate our actions and optimize our interaction with the African Diaspora”.

Bourita also took the opportunity to praise the success of the meeting in Rabat which “was distinguished by its participation both quantitative and qualitative” and which was marked by a significant ministerial presence, in addition to the presence of the Senegalese presidency of the African Union (AU).

The Rabat meeting is part of “a context of co-ownership of the work of this Committee,” he said, noting that through the organization of this Forum, the Kingdom also wanted to mean that “all African countries and all delegations should take ownership of this work, get involved and take initiatives for its success”.

At the level of participation, Bourita emphasized the will to reconcile the diplomatic with the technical, hence the invitation of the presidents of Central Banks so that the diplomatic discourse is accompanied by an expert view and concrete proposals.

In addition, the Minister said that an important look was given to the regional economic communities (RECs), noting that all communities were present to bring this regional perspective and to own themselves these RECs, the discussions but also the conclusions of the meeting in Rabat.

Three plenary sessions were devoted to cost reduction and the contribution of the African Diaspora, the regulatory and operational framework of transfers, as well as the digitization of financial services and innovative mechanisms for cost reduction, said Bourita, welcoming the “very interesting” discussions that followed, including between technicians and representatives of Central Banks and representatives of the African system.

At the end of this meeting, he noted, the Rabat Declaration has identified a number of comments and called for promoting the bi-banking of different generations of African migrants, while working to ensure that the standards of exchange of tax information does not impede the transfer of funds.

It also called for the promotion of a legal and fiscal environment that encourages the diversification of channels and the elimination of exclusivities, to encourage the digitalization of financial services, technologies and innovative business models, which can reduce the costs of transfers and to conduct a major action towards the European Union (EU) to ease the conditions for the exercise of the intermediation activity of African banks in Europe, he added.

In this regard, a number of actions and initiatives have been taken towards the EU, said the Minister, recalling that he spoke to the European Commissioner for Neighborhood, Olivér Varhelyi.

He also said he had discussed with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, the issue of the conditions for the exercise of intermediation activity by African banks on European soil.

“This is a directive of the European Commission in the context of the Brexit but whose impact would affect all African banks installed on the European continent and would make it even more difficult and costly for the African diaspora to transfer money to their home countries,” Bourita alerted.

Subsequently, “we have formed Tasks Forces composed of diplomats, representatives of the banking system and representatives of central banks to reflect on this issue and collect the African arguments in this context,” he said, noting that “we are conducting awareness actions of the various European authorities on the importance of this issue for African countries.

It is important that the Togolese Presidency can “directly sensitize these European bodies, either nationally or in the context of meetings between the AU and the EU and that this issue is included as a priority matter on our agenda,” suggested Bourita.

The declaration of Rabat was submitted to the 36th summit of the African Union through the report that Togo presented to the Executive Council in its capacity as Chairman of the High Committee, said the Moroccan minister, recalling that the summit welcomed in its decision 22 the organization of this forum on the reduction of transfer costs, chaired jointly by Morocco and Togo.

The reference to this Rabat Forum was also included in the report presented by His Majesty King Mohammed VI in his capacity as AU Champion on migration issues, said the minister, adding that “the report’s statement is a roadmap for our future action on this issue”.

“It would be relevant that (this report) be considered by our High Committee as a reference document to promote best practices to federate our actions and to optimize our contribution so that the transfer of the diaspora can really benefit African countries and that the costs of transfers are at least at the level of the international average of 6%, or even that Africa can be the leader of the debate within the United Nations to achieve the goal included in the framework of the SDGs, namely that these costs should not exceed 3% on the 200 dollars transferred,” concluded Bourita.

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