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African leaders seek ways to woo diaspora

Delegates and Heads of state attend the opening ceremony (© 2009 AFP)

African leaders met in South Africa on Friday to discuss ways of drawing in the diaspora to help advance the world’s poorest continent.

“Africa and its diaspora need to work together in more organised ways than before to advance the African agenda worldwide,” host President Jacob Zuma said.

He told the one-day meeting to draw up plans to help correct perceptions and show that “the rising new Africa will lead to the eradication of Afro-pessimism and prejudice.”

Organised by the African Union, the summit was attended by more than 20 countries with several nations such as Benin, South Sudan, Chad, Togo, Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland and Zimbabwe represented by their leaders.

“We must now devote more efforts to establish appropriate structures that would facilitate more effective diaspora participation in the affairs of the (African) Union,” AU Commission chairman, Jean Ping said.

Equatorial Guinea leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema said the meeting “symbolises the beginning of the African renaissance.”

Latin America and Carribean nations were also represented at the talk also attended by former presidents of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo and South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki.

Signature : JOHANNESBURG (AFP)

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