They wash dishes in restaurants, clean toilets and look after elderly incontinent people in the West. That makes the majority of the 30 million who have emigrated from Africa. Some are much luckier, they work in subaltern management positions in corporate America or in public institution in Europe. Few are real stars, successful with high pay and social status.
Regardless of their current fate, they all share one thing in common: most of them want to return to Africa.
The recent medias’ drumbeat about “Africa is Rising” is making them restless and hopeful because most of them have quite a petty life in the West. They are constantly harassed by the state police, crushed by daily racism from their neighbors and strangers, economically and politically isolated, and with very little hope for a near-future improvement.
Unfortunately their dream to return home is painfully held back by deep fears and unanswered questions.
Here are the top 10 fears of the African diaspora about Africa, and also the top 10 questions most of them are confronted with. (You can see full questions list at Return2Africa.com)
Top 10 Fears
1. I know few people who have returned but failed, and had to come back to Europe.
2. I’m not successful here. I don’t have money. I’ll be ashamed to return just with my suitcase.
3. I don’t know how I’ll face all the social pressure and people asking me money.
4. I want to start a business back home, but everything is political in Africa. If you don’t have connections, your business could be crushed and closed at any time by officials.
5. How to explain my decision to my parents, my family, my friends? I’m afraid of their reaction.
6. How can I be sure that my professional experience will translate into something useful when I return to Africa? The work conditions are not good there.
7. I’m afraid of political instability. Every election is a matter of life and death with widespread of violence and fear.
8. There is no health insurance in Africa like I have here. The health system in my country has completely collapsed, what will I do if me or my family would get sick? How to find a good health insurance company?
9. I don’t have local connections anymore. My friends are now here. I’ll feel alone and isolated there. How to rebuild my social network locally before moving back?
10. I don’t have a place where to live. I don’t want to return to my parents house. Where will I live and host my family when I don’t have that much money?
Top 10 Questions
1. Is there any local association or group of Returned Africans that I can join or get support from?
2. How to deal will the feeling of failure of returning back without lot of money?
3. What to do if I don’t have any money to return with?
4. Is there any organization or support group that help people who want to return to Africa?
5. How to find a job when you are not yet in Africa?
6. I want to start a business back home. Where can I find accurate and non-biased information?
7. How to find a house or an apartment to rent? What risks to avoid?
8. Which Banks or Financial organizations give loans to people in the diaspora to buy or build their house?
9. I’m married to a European, how can I convince him/her to move back to Africa with me?
10. How to find the best hospitals/Good Doctors for my family, and the best school and kindergarten for our kids?
A recent study showed that 70% of African graduates in the diaspora are willing to return to build Africa.
Africa needs qualified human resources to develop. “Africa as a whole spends an estimated $4 billion every year in Western expat salaries for positions that could be filled by the African professionals who leave the continent” reports ThisisAfrica.com, and “It is estimated there will be a 75% increase in the use of expatriate staff over the next three years, and the strategic use of these resources will be a critical success factor to help establish and grow business across Africa.” – HowWeMadeItInAfrica.com
“If you believe in Africa and know the potential of our continent, you will agree with me that you have more opportunities in Africa than anywhere else. If you don’t believe me, go to your nearest African international airport and count the number of people from overseas arriving to do business.
My heart actually breaks when I read or hear about Africa’s youth trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to get to the rich West to wash dishes in restaurants, clean toilets and look after elderly incontinent people. Were these fine daughters and sons of Africa to have a second thought, they would put themselves into better use and in their own motherland.” said my friend Ian Mvula