1. Think of the partnership initiative in terms of “technology game changers”
Just like the best teams have creative players who are game changers, the best initiatives should have innovative plans that are game changers. An innovative plan can change the game in favor of African development by making it easier for Africans to work with Africans in the Diaspora. Imagine a world without mobile phones, and then imagine a world with mobile phones. Which of these worlds make it easier for Africans to collaborate with Africans in the Diaspora? Enough said. Africa is the fastest-growing mobile market in the world and the initiatives that set or leverage technology trends will likely have a greater impact on African development.
2. Design the initiative (or aspects of the initiative) to include public and private partnership
The interest in public-private arrangements is trending up given the budget constraint on governments on one hand and the risk aversion of private investors on another hand. As a general mode of operation, public-private arrangements tend to deliver more sustainable results. One idea that has been discussed is the formation of a public-private African Diaspora Investment Fund. The fund would be set up to inspire entrepreneurs in the Diaspora to invest in Africa; in addition, the fund could be harmonized with sovereign wealth funds to promote long term investments in key development areas such as agribusiness, power generation, and infrastructure support.
3. Dedicate a liaison role to streamline decision-making between the leadership team in Africa and in the Diaspora
One organization that does this well is the Congo Initiative (CI). CI trains indigenous women and men to be national leaders. Since its inception in 2002, CI has started a university, a center for professional development, abuse rehabilitation, HIV/AIDS church mobilization, and vocational training including micro-enterprises. CI has dedicated teams in Africa and in North America that oversee operations across geographies. Specifically, CI’s Director of Operations liaises with CI leadership in Congo on behalf of the CI USA Board and Staff. This liaison role helps the organization facilitate resource allocation decisions effectively and efficiently.