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Diaspora Investment Breakfast - 3 Take-aways

· Investing,Diaspora,Business

At the recently concluded Diaspora in Tech Week organised by the Africa Technology Business Network, we brought together three experts over breakfast to discuss the opportunities and challenges around unlocking the Diaspora’s potential as investors and business leaders.

Guest speakers included Tangwena Nelson, CFO of Homestrings a crowdfunding platform focused on frontier and emerging markets that has Diaspora investors at its core.

We were also joined by Stella Opoku-Owusu, Engagement and capacity manager at AFFORD, a pioneer of Diaspora-development that works to mobilize and engage African Diaspora in international development.

Finally we had Dotun Olowoporoku, a Diaspora investor and managing partner of Starta, a free business support platform for startup founders and SME entrepreneurs in Africa.

Below are some of the key points that were discussed

1. Diaspora’s potential as investors into business in Africa

Guest speakers all agreed there is immense potential for Diaspora as investors into business in Africa and that their strong ties to the continent gave them a unique advantage. Giving the example of Homestrings, Tangwena Nelson mentioned their platform has to date facilitated over $25 million in investment in 4 years through their over 4000 members. With 30 million Africans living in the diaspora, this is just the tip of the iceberg and Homestrings - who have been honing their platform and making it continuously easier for their members to find and invest in the most exciting opportunities in frontier markets - are poised to capitalise on this immense opportunity.

2. Increasing the impact of Diaspora investment on Development

Stella Opoku-Owusu stressed that Diaspora have already been major investors into the continent through remittances. However the challenge remains channelling these remittances as investments into key job-creating sectors and businesses thus increasing the Diaspora’s impact in driving economic growth.

She added that there was a need to create incentives to enable this targeted flow of investment and that one of the ways AFFORD is looking to do this is through their RemitAid initiative which calls for Remittance Tax Incentives for Diaspora investors.

3. Diaspora entrepreneurs – a unique opportunity

Dotun Olowoporoku shared that their platform Starta, was founded on the belief that billion dollar businesses will emerge out of Africa. As a Diaspora entrepreneur himself and one who has invested in another Diaspora-led startup, Dotun sees the potential for African Diaspora to participate in the development of these high-growth businesses in Africa.

Their upcoming High Growth Africa Summit in Lagos will convene successful business founders and operators from the Silicon Valley, UK and Africa and will also feature several Diaspora entrepreneurs such as Tunde Kehinde and Tayo Oviosu who moved back to set up million dollar businesses. The conference will provide a unique opportunity for startup founders to gain practical how-to guides on strategy, tactics and tools they can use to grow their business in Africa.

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