Ivorian diaspora networks

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.

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3 Responses to Ivorian diaspora networks

  1. The Business Council for Africa has been doing more or less this since 1956, when first created, initially in only the English speaking countries, but progressively across Africa, and with links to the EU organisation: EBCAM. I strongly recommend you look at the website, and if you would like to receive a copy of the latest monthly report, send me an e-mail.

    And a plea to all: FHB asked back in 1985 that this country should be referred to as Cote d’Ivoire … look at the Wikipedia pages for more information. It never was Ivory Coast, unlike Ghana was Gold Coast. Why can’t people say “Cote d’Ivoire” when they can say “Ghana” ?

    Craig W. HITCHCOCK
    President
    Business Council for Africa – Cote d’Ivoire

  2. Franck Baye says:

    Great idea John. If some of your readers are ready, I can provide a community website ( directory, forum, social network, groups…. ) to handle the project. For Free. Just let me know.

  3. Lisa Vives says:

    Cote d’Ivoire is still Ivory Coast (identifies the country by what colonial powers could take – like Cameroon (shrimp) the Gold Coast (gold) etc). Further, I don’t think France and its language is more popular than Anglophone countries and English over there (remember the pro-Bush demonstrations?) so I don’t think it’s an offence except to those Ivorians who are French partisans.

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