Proud Africans Policy Agenda
Adopted by the Pan African Unity Dialogue, February 23, 2019
Background and Overview
In response to President Donald Trump’s vulgar characterization of countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Central America as “shitholes,” people of African descent in the U.S. and globally responded with various demonstrations, rallies and other forms of protest. In New York, the United African Congress, with the support of the Pan African Unity Dialogue assembled a diverse group of leaders and organizations which quickly evolved into the #PROUD AFRICANS Coalition. The Coalition set as its goals, mobilizing a rally at the United Nations to emphatically respond to Trump and the formulation of a Policy Agenda to galvanize people of African descent to articulate our interests and aspirations in the U.S. and the Pan African world. Against the backdrop of the U.N. Decade for People of African Descent, the goal of devising a Policy Agenda was to seize the moment of Trump’s insults to move beyond the person to mobilize/organize people of African descent to unite to advance our interests as “Proud Africans,” Black people! The Coalition adopted the concepts of Protest, Policy and Power as the framework for implementing its goals:
We are Proud Africans, people of African descent, Continental Africans, Africans from the Caribbean, Central and South America and African Americans of all faiths and religions who are determined to maintain our dignity in the face of racist provocations and achieve justice and self-determination for Black people. We demand respect. Therefore, we will resist efforts to disparage, demean, disrespect or disregard people of African descent by “any means necessary!”
We are committed to work for the enactment of local, state, national and international policies that will eradicate hunger, poverty. disease and illiteracy and ensure the well-being of people of African descent in terms of economic development, housing, health care and education as basic human rights as presented in the Africa Agenda 2063 and in keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Therefore, we seek to build principled and functional bonds of unity within the African Diaspora to maximize the social, economic and political power of people of African descent in the Diaspora and the Pan African World.
February 15, 2017, the #PROUD AFRICANS Coalition organized a Rally at the U.N. Plaza in New York that was live streamed across the world, setting the stage for moving forward with the formulation of a Policy Agenda. In the aftermath of the Rally, meetings of the Coalition and the Pan African Unity Dialogue were convened where it was suggested that the Policy Agenda should reflect a synthesis of the following:
- The Platform of issues adopted by the #PROUD AFRICANS Coalition as presented at the Rally.
- The work of the United African Congress on issues of democratic governance and the Diaspora as the Sixth Region of the African Union.
- The work within the Pan African Dialogue on Principles and Criteria for Foreign Investment in Africa and the Caribbean; Crises Points in Africa; and, Immigration Policy Reform.
This document represents the fulfillment of that process. While it is termed a “Policy Agenda” and does incorporate some specific proposals, one of its most valuable aspects is the Declaration of Principles and Values which should serve as a guide to the development of recommendations and proposals for action. This document contains Sections on:
I. Democratic Governance and Human Rights
II. Principles and Criteria for Foreign Investment in Africa and the Caribbean
III. Principles and Positions on Immigration Issues and Policy Reform
IV. Empowering the Diaspora to Impact Policy in the U.S. and the Pan African World
and Human Rights
Developing and implementing African-centered methods, structures, systems and institutions of governance and human rights is crucial to the empowerment, self-determination, dignity and collective prosperity of the peoples and nations of Africa and people of African descent throughout the Pan African world. By “African-centered” we mean concepts, principles and values rooted in the wisdom of the traditional communal way of life of Africans which has evolved over thousands of years. These concepts, values and principles must constitute the foundation and framework for our political systems and processes and should be applied as follows:
- The systematic and inclusive engagement of the people in the process of choosing their government and its leadership
- Developing structures and processes which encourage the consistent civic participation of the people in sustaining “democratic” governance.
- We oppose the political oppression, suppression and intimidation of the people, political parties, civil society organizations or leaders. We support the freedom of expression/speech and participation in the system of governance, including the right to vote, without fear of coercion or retribution, as a basic human right.
- Protection of the Press/Media from intimidation or coercion as a basic human right.
- Open, free, transparent and verifiable elections conducted by universally accepted standards.
- We oppose efforts by parties and leaders to ensure perpetual incumbency, the “leader for life” tendency, by altering or subverting constitutions or otherwise enacting policies to indefinitely extend the rule of parties and presidents. We prefer placing limitations on terms of office of all officials of government and creating a level playing field for candidates by providing equal access to media and financial resources. Special priority should be given to creating avenues for civic participation and engagement by women and young people to achieve the full potential of democratization.
- We oppose Western-styled “winner take all electoral systems” as detrimental to political development, particularly in Africa where the artificial boundaries drawn under European colonialism have been a source of counter-productive rivalries, tensions and conflicts between ethnic nations. We recommend the intentional incorporation of proportional representation into the electoral process and the systematic promotion of “governments of national inclusion” to minimize and mitigate tensions by ensuring that all ethnic groups and constituencies have a stake in and benefit from the distribution of goods, services, resources and status of governments.
Principles and Criteria for Foreign Investment
in Africa and the Caribbean
Foundational Principles and Criteria
W.E.B DuBois correctly declared that Africa is the “richest continent” on the earth, blessed with enormous reservoirs of valuable minerals, precious metals and gemstones. Like the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, DuBois envisioned these resources as an endowment to people of African descent and the foundation for global Black power. The control of Africa’s vital resources by African people was imperative. Frantz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral stressed that to fulfill the vision of DuBois and Garvey, simply replacing White faces with Black faces was insufficient as an objective of the anti-colonial liberation struggles; “national liberation” must pave the way for “national reconstruction,” the complete decolonization of the minds of the people and the structures and institutions of colonialism such that the resources of Africa could and would be used to improve the quality of life of the masses of African people. But, Kwame Nkrumah warned that the former colonizers and others would continuously conspire to gain access to and control of Africa’s resources, which if successful, would render political power little more than “flag independence.” Therefore, “neo-colonialism,” as the “last stage of imperialism,” must be relentlessly resisted.
Nkrumah was prophetic. Today, the African Diaspora is witnessing some alarming trends: African nations that have economies that are still largely controlled by former colonial powers and/or the phenomenon of foreign investors engaged in what appears to be a new “scramble for Africa.” Foreign investors are being awarded contracts and concessions that permit the devouring of the continent’s resources in ways that threaten to perpetuate the impoverishment of the masses of the people. Tragically, this trend is unfolding all too often with the active engagement or complicity of African leaders and governments – which is tantamount to a betrayal of vision of Garvey and DuBois and the blood and suffering of the freedom fighters who fought for Africa’s independence.
Therefore, we express our uncompromising desire and determination that the vast resources of Africa must be utilized to achieve a high standard of living for the majority of the people and serve as the source for commerce, trade and economic development and global power for people of African descent throughout the world. This should be the most important criteria for foreign investment in Africa and the Caribbean.
Accordingly, we look to the values of the traditional way of life of African people as expressed in the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles of the Black Value System devised by Dr. Maulana Karenga as the foundation for guiding foreign investment in Africa.
Ujamaa, Cooperative Economics and Ujima, Collective Work and Responsibility: These principles capture the essence of the goal of preserving and utilizing the resources of Africa to benefit the masses of African people on the Continent and the Diaspora and underscore the urgent need for unified action at all levels of society to achieve this critical goal.
Nothing in these Guidelines should be viewed as substitutes for the Agenda 2063 adopted by the Heads of State and Governments of the African Union (AU) at the 24th Ordinary Assembly in Addis Abba, Ethiopia in 2015. These Guidelines are intended to be popular, people-based proposals that supplement, complement and strengthen similar Declarations with the understanding that the overarching goal is for Africa to end parasitical relationships which result in resources being extracted and refined by non-African nations for export back to Africa and to other nations. The ultimate goal is for Africa’s raw materials and agricultural products to be refined in Africa to ensure the highest added value for building strong and sustainable economies:
- African nations should place a high priority on negotiating Joint Ventures in which the host country has a majority interest of at least 51%. Where current circumstances render it problematic for the host country to achieve 51% interest, a concrete time limit of 10-20 years should be incorporated into the agreement to ensure that this goal is fulfilled. Utilizing the same framework, in the absence of joint agreements, host countries should negotiate substantial fees and concessions that accrue to the Government over a reasonable timeframe in exchange for access to the nation’s labor and resources.
- Exceptionally long-term agreements (100 years) should be avoided in favor of short term (10-25 years), renewable arrangements that can be monitored for compliance and adjusted based on changing circumstances.
- Foreign investors should be compelled to utilize labor and materials from the host country as opposed to importing workers and materials from their countries. Seventy-five percent (75%) local labor utilization should be the goal with the proviso that foreign workers and governments have a moral and political obligation to provide for the children and families that may be left behind for whatever reason. These families should not become a burden on African governments as a “legacy of foreign investment.”
- Agreements must incorporate high environmental standards including a stated preference for the use of green products and alternative energy sources. Agreements should forbid the dumping of hazardous materials on African soil.
- African nations should prioritize encouraging investment in their economies by entrepreneurs and businesses/corporations from the Diaspora. African nations should also encourage Continental Africans to invest in enterprises in the Diaspora to solidify the kind of inter-dependent economic/business relations that will lessen dependence on foreign investment in Africa and the Caribbean.
- Traditional Chiefs, who still retain control over vast areas of land, should be engaged by people of African descent entrepreneurs and businesses/corporations as meaningful partners in business ventures and development projects.
- A significant percentage of all fees from leases and contracts, including royalties, should be designated for deposit in National Economic Investment Funds established by Governments for the purpose of allocating monies to people-based rural and urban development projects. Civil society organizations and leaders should monitor these structures to ensure that the funds are allocated as mandated.
- Civil society institutions, agencies and movements should demand that African nations adhere to Constitutional Mandates for protecting the land and resources to improve the quality of life for the people.
Principles and Positions on Immigration
Issues and Policy Reform
The issue of immigration is not only a controversial issue in the U.S., it is a matter of major concern as thousands of Africans stream northward to the nations of Europe escaping famine, poverty, instability and seeking a better way of life. It is important to frame the immigration issue within the context of Walter Rodney’s proposition that nations of Europe “developed” because of the systematical exploitation, oppression and “underdevelopment” of the kingdoms and nations of Africa by way of the trafficking in slaves, colonialism and neo-colonialism. That proposition also holds true for the relationship of the U.S. to the Western Hemisphere. Vast numbers of human beings, people from nations disparaged as “shitholes,” are pressing at the gates, walls, the borders of the former slave traffickers, colonialists and neo-colonialists.
- It is imperative that people of African descent demand reparative justice in terms of massive, “people-oriented” investment in Africa and the Caribbean to contribute to the revitalization and maintenance of healthy, self-reliant and sustainable economies.
- The massive influx of African immigrants, a large number of whom are young people, into the various nations of Europe is a European-wide and international issue which requires bold European-wide and international solutions. We propose locating “Economic Opportunity Training and Enterprise Safe Zones” within consenting European and African nations supported by funds from the European Union, the United Nations and other multilateral bodies. These Safe Zones would receive immigrants, provide training in a variety of occupations and skills, assist with the establishment of businesses by immigrants and/or seek gainful employment opportunities within the host country or other nations in Europe, Africa and the World.
- We demand that the International Community continue to condemn the horrific practice of the enslavement of Africans by nations in North Africa, most notably Libya, and utilize all available means to eradicate this inhumane and uncivilized practice. Towards that end, the Pan African Unity Dialogue (PAUD) proposes to convene an International Symposium on this issue to continue to shine light on the crisis and offer recommendations to end this dreadful practice.
- Consistent with positions adopted by the Pan African Unity Dialogue, we demand that the U.S. and Europe adopt non-discriminatory, equitable, inclusive and just immigration reforms.
- As it specifically relates to the U.S., we demand that the Diversity Visa Program not only be maintained but dramatically expanded to create non-discriminatory access and a pathway to citizenship for people of African descent from Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America.
- We are deeply concerned with the lack of awareness and utilization of the EB-5 Immigration Program by people of African descent as a vehicle for economic development in Black communities in the U.S. “Under this program, entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) if they: make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.” Other nationalities are currently using this program as a tool for economic development and to enrich entrepreneurs, some of whom are making lucrative investments in major urban Black communities like Harlem. As such, the EB-5 Program is aiding the gentrification of Black communities.
- We demand that the federal agencies administering EB-5 develop and implement a public awareness campaign to inform Diaspora communities about this Program. PAUD is committed to launching an educational program to inform the Diaspora and Africans on the continent about the enormous value and potential of the EB-5 Program for wealth creation and entrepreneurial/business development as well as ways to utilize it to effectively counter gentrification and build Black economic power.
Empowering the Diaspora to Impact
Policy in the U.S. and Pan African World
The sons and daughters of the motherland of Africa who were scattered to the far-flung territories and nations of the Western Hemisphere and eventually Europe by the exploitative machinations of the Maafa, the holocaust of enslavement, colonialism and neo-colonialism constitute a potentially powerful force for restoration, redemption and reparative justice. They have become imbedded in various strata of “Western societies” as an “underclass ”of labor/workers and as professionals, business owners/entrepreneurs, heads of multinational corporations, world-renowned artists, athletes and entertainers and influential elected officials. They have become “citizens” of nations whose “development” was fueled, multiplied and accelerated by the underdevelopment of Africa and the Caribbean. “Truth crushed to earth will rise again” and like “a phoenix rising from the ashes,” the sons and daughters of the African Diaspora can lead the way towards a Pan African renaissance!
To fulfill this mission the Diaspora must organize itself and commit to utilizing its resources to advance the interests and aspirations of people of African descent in the U.S. and the Pan African World:
- The European nations that engaged in the ruthless rape, pillage and exploitation of Africa’s human and material resources through the trafficking of enslaved Africans and brutal, genocidal domination in the colonial era, e.g., Belgium during the reign of King Leopold, must be compelled to make restitution via reparations for these transgressions. The nations of Africa must be encouraged to become integrally involved in the global reparations movement to achieve this objective in collaboration with the CARICOM Reparations Commission and National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC). Accordingly, PAUD proposes to form a Task Force comprised of historians, legal and forensic experts and reparations advocates to catalogue the aforementioned crimes against humanity and expose them to the world as part of the agenda of the U.N. Decade for People of African descent. The nations of Europe must repair the damages inflicted on Africa during the slave trade and colonialism.
- We support the vision of the Diaspora as the Sixth Region of the African Union and encourage the implementation of a process and structure which will include the diverse range of constituencies and interest groups in the Diaspora and representation from all of its regions, e.g., the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe.
- We encourage representatives of the African Union and the Diplomatic Corp of Africa and the Caribbean to be accessible and actively engaged in building bonds of Pan African solidarity and action in conducting their work in the Diaspora.
- We embrace and prioritize the vision of Marcus Garvey and numerous forebears who have advocated for self-reliant, socially responsible wealth generation, internal business development and trade between Africa and the Diaspora to break the chains of dependence on the former slave masters and colonizers. In that spirit, we call for the establishment of a Diaspora Investment Bank to pursue the fulfillment if this vision.
- We implore organizations and leaders in the Diaspora to employ our collective economic and political power to positively impact the polices of the U.S. and the nations of Europe toward Africa and the Caribbean. The Diaspora must become a potent, uncompromising, unrelenting voice and force representing the interests of the nations of Africa and the Caribbean in the U.S., Canada, Central and South America and Europe.
- We call for civil rights/human rights organizations, faith leaders, elected officials and Pan African advocacy groups in the U.S. to form a powerful collaborative “collective lobby” to uncompromisingly promote and protect the interests of Africa, the motherland!
- The effective incorporation of immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America into Black communities should be viewed as a major goal to enhance the overall empowerment of the Diaspora. Therefore, it is critically important that organizations like PAUD develop educational programs that provide financial literacy, entrepreneurial development and employment readiness training; sessions on civic participation and engagement; and, voter education and participation to utilize electoral systems to promote and protect the interests of Diaspora communities.
- The Diaspora provides enormous support to the homeland through the contribution of trillions of dollars via remittances, investments and the exercise of political influence. Therefore, we support the concept and principle of the enfranchisement of the Diaspora to engage in the political processes of their homelands through elections and other avenues, e.g., Cape Verde where representatives of the Diaspora not only vote in national elections but may also be elected to the National Assembly.
- Adherence to principles of Democratic Governance and Human Rights is a foundation for the mutual development of people of African descent everywhere. Therefore, we support Diaspora Initiatives that encourage contending parties to respect participation in non-violent, free, fair and transparent elections. Consistent with this proposition, we support the establishment of Election Monitoring Commissions to observe elections in Africa and the Caribbean and offer assessments on whether the proceedings were open, free and fair. Efforts by the United African Congress can serve as a model for such Initiatives.
- Equally important, crisis points in Africa, e.g., ethnic tensions, invasions, interventions, coups, political instability, etc. demand the attention of the Diaspora. Therefore, we support targeted efforts to expose the behavior of governments, leaders and clandestine forces that foster or engage in activities that create instability on the Continent. PAUD supports the establishment of Fact Finding Commissions and Conflict Mediation/Resolution Commissions to address crisis points Africa.
- Recognizing the devastating impact of natural and man-made disasters on the African continent and the Caribbean, e.g., droughts, famines, outbreaks of infectious diseases, global warming, hurricanes, the Diaspora has a duty to support and organize unified humanitarian relief efforts like the response of the United African Congress to the Ebola outbreak in Africa and Diaspora
The fate of Africa, the Caribbean and the Diaspora are inextricably linked. Empowerment and principled unity in the face of ongoing white supremacist exploitation and oppression is the order of the day. Therefore, the Signatories to this Policy Agenda view it as a framework for all conscious and responsible leaders and organizations to collaborate, to act in concert to promote and defend the collective interests and aspirations of people of African descent, Black people everywhere. We are Proud Africans. Despair, hopelessness, apathy and inaction given our collective history of resistance, resiliency and triumph are not an option. Let the awesome challenge of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey be our battle cry as we engage the just and righteous struggle for the future of our people and humankind: “Up you mighty race, accomplish what you will!”
Dr. Ron Daniels keynote address. #ProudAfricans Rally, United Nations Plaza, NY