A pan African activist and former Chairman of CRAN, Dr. Louis-Georges Tin is the Prime Minister of State of African Diaspora – SOAD. SOAD is a creation of the African Union, (AU) and it is the sixth region of Africa, after the West, South, East, North and Central of African regions and one of the most populous state in the world. In this exclusive interview with Olawale Abideen. Dr. Tin do not only proved he’s a university teacher who was born into the Caribbean Island but also showcased prowess of a determined African revolution hero and a crusader of genuine unity amongst Africans. He urges all African Diaspora and Afro-descendants to join SOAD in building a New Africa.
What is the State of African Diaspora all about?
We are state without borders; the state of African Diaspora, SOAD has everything a state could have. We have government, we have currency, we have university, etc.
In recognizing the political, economic and cultural importance of the African Diaspora and Afro-descendants who are scattered across the globe, the African Union in 2003, at the end of the AU Summit of the Heads of State declared African Diaspora the Sixth Region of Africa and a great source of development for the African continent with more than US$65 billions remittances annually to the continent. The African Union decides to recognize the African in diaspora as an effective entity contributing to the economic and social development of the continent.
Over the years this “Sixth Region” of the AU existed only on paper, uncoordinated and without much impact. In 2014, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President-in-Office of the African Union gave me a mandate to set up the African Diaspora and give it substance as the Sixth Region of the continent. That was the birth of what we know today as the State of African Diaspora (SOAD).
The SOAD was officially launched on July 3rd 2018, during the Summit of the African Union in Mauritania. It is already recognized by Mauritania, by the Maroon States of Jamaica, by the Democratic Republic of Congo. More States from Africa and the Diaspora are willing to cooperate with SOAD.
What is the mandate or objectives of SOAD?
SOAD brings together almost 350 million inhabitants, making it potentially the third largest country of the world, after China and India, but larger than the United States of America which is just about 323 million, Indonesia which is 258 million and Brazil of 205 million.
The goal of Africans in the Diaspora has always been to return to Africa to cultivate relationships between Africans anywhere in the world with the land of their ancestors. It is an old Pan-African dream that is taking shape in this present time. It is on record that many Africans lost their identities to colonialism. There are traditional governments and kingdom that lost their powers to colonization
SOAD also has the mandate to strengthen Africa by the diaspora, and the diaspora by Africa. This diaspora constitutes a considerable political, economic and cultural power, but this power remains insufficient because it has been dispersed. By establishing the necessary connections between the Diaspora and the continent, we will create unity and, therefore, the strength to be placed in the right league amongst comity of nations will be achieved.
The Unity and reunion of Africans with their ancestral lands may not be too easy, how would you achieve this?
Africa is a dark continent and we must light it up. The best way to develop Africa is by connecting the region with it descendants all over the world. Since we cannot talk about development of Africa without Africans, we have set up projects that would aid these developments. We are embarking on Pan- African tours and conferences, setting up our own currency (AKL LUMI, a digital currency), establishing our own university; design SOAD Passport, set up hospitals etc. And we have five years expectation on some of these projects.
One of our critical intervention projects is the setting up of a Smart Cities in each of the region in Africa. We have 35 of those smart cities in the pipeline. We have signed bilateral agreement with Medicus International for a technological driven smart medical city. Just like your smart phone, the smart city is modern and it is to be built with new digital facilities. Inside the smart city is modern residential estate, schools and markets, smart medical city to stop medical tourism and of course to develop our traditional medicine, etc. One of the smart cities is to be established in Nigeria. And giving the historic background of Badagry, the ancient city has been prepared to be the host of our smart city in Nigeria. We plan such city in Liberia, South Africa, Togo, and Congo.
Let me at this juncture commend the traditional ruler of Badagry, the Akran of Badagry Kingdom who recently approved a thousand hectares of land for the SOAD Smart City. I must sincerely commend our Roving Ambassador, Otunba Dele Ajayi-Smith for his active role at promoting the smart city project in Nigeria.
What are the challenges of SOAD since it creation?
There is need for more voices in calling for the unity of Africa. We must not neglect the antics of divide and rule being perpetuated by the Western World against Africa. SOAD major challenge is that we’re not getting enough co-operations from African countries. African countries are not giving us the deserving supports. Liberia and a few other countries are trying. Liberia is a good example of the new symbol of African development. Liberia is calling on Diaspora to return to its roots and family. But we are not relenting. We know it’s an enormous task and we are ready to face and tackle the challenges in all fronts.
And how do you think you will overcome these challenges?
Africa has what it takes to rule the world. We have the population and the resources. SOAD has commenced series of consultation and it’s yielding positive results. We are achieving a level that will compel the colonial masters to pay restitutions to Africa. Restitution is a matter of justice. We don’t need to beg for it. We don’t need to run after them, these people will come by themselves.
Africa represents about 70 percent of the world population. Our GDP is ahead of India. Population, entertainment, sports and other feats at the advantage of Africans are not appreciated. Africans control major technology of the Europeans and Americans. We have the power but we neglect our might. The solution is that, we have to connect with each other. We need each other to rapidly move forward. We need connectivity with our siblings around the globe for our development.
Is there any symbiotic relationship between smart city and medical city as conceived by SOAD?
Smart city is a large and all encompass with many other features including schools and housing estates while smart medical city is part of the smart city. The smart medical city is basically SOAD health intervention and there are significant progresses on the project.
How do you intend to fund these projects?
Funding is not the problem. The major problem is organization. We are partnering with both government and private investors. Traditional institutions are our major stakeholders. The land donated by the King of Badagry is a capital. We have such agreements on the pipeline that when materialized will achieve accelerated development for Africa.
What is your advice for Africans especially those on African soil?
Tother. I, therefore, solicit the cooperation of Africans at home as well as the support of those in diaspora to turn around the future of Africa. We must build synergies and break barriers in our quest for a genuine African development.