I recently came across the website of the Liberian Professional Network (hat tip moved2monrovia), and it struck me that Ivory Coast was crying out for something similar. Have a look and see what you think. In the ‘Projects’ area for instance you can read about the ‘Demystify Liberia’ series, which already has two great PDFs on doing business in Liberia; one general, one about import-export.
The Ivorian webspace is currently underdeveloped, but overloaded with showbiz and news sites, often with little unique content. This is however a project which I think could make a big difference. The African diaspora are a key source of expertise and finance; African Development Bank research published last year said remittances to Africa were worth $41 billion in 2008, four times what they were in 1995 and far more than foreign aid. Ghana’s improving fortunes seem to have attracted a good number of young intelligent nationals back from overseas, and when they return, they seem (anecdotally) to be more likely to try and re-dynamise the private sector than seek out government jobs.
The way I see it, a good apolitical Ivorian diaspora network based around a functional website could be a forum for exchange and resources. Consider a website that could offer you;
– practical advice on everything from import-export, money transfers, buying property, starting businesses, investing in the BRVM stock exchange and sorting out identification papers
– a chance for Ivorian nationals abroad to reconnect with Ivory Coast
– tourism advice
– a community of professionals keen to make a contribute to Ivory Coast’s development
It wouldn’t seem to me to be the hardest thing to put in place and could provide enormous benefits. I’m not the right person to do this, but maybe some of you are.