-DEAR SECRETARY GENERAL, COULD YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF?
-My name is Cinthia Ta. I was born in Ivory Coast and moved to Scandinavia at the age of 15 to join my mother who was working as a diplomat for the embassy of Ivory Coast in Copenhagen, Denmark. I have done most of my studies in Denmark and graduated as a Master student in International Business and Development Studies from Copenhagen Business School.
In 2004, I went back to Ivory Coast to work for the ministry of Industry and Private sector Development under the Minister and his Director of Private Sector Development. There again, my role was to establish the
link between Scandinavia and Ivory Coast.
Upon my return back to Denmark, in 2008, I founded the African Chamber of Commerce Scandinavia (ACCS) with the purpose to promote business and investment opportunities between Africa and Scandinavia. In 2009, in
collaboration with the Nigerian Ambassador, Igali Godknows, I organized the official Visit of Jonathan Goodluck, then Vice President of Nigeria, in the Nordic countries, which was a great success that led to many
Scandinavian investments and partnerships.
Further on in 2014, in collaboration with EU and AEDPT (Africa-Europe Diaspora Development), I organized the first African Diaspora Development event in Copenhagen whose aim was to improve and enhance the
capacity and the impact of African diaspora organizations involved in development activities.
In between, I have been teaching and supervising master theses and internships at the University where I graduated – it was my way to give back to the next generation and society.
Last year, together with great women we established PROWOC, a non-profit organization for professional women of color in Denmark whose purpose is to empower and enhance professional opportunities in Denmark for women
of color through networking, career development training and workshops, and one-on-one mentoring.
I enjoy mentoring the young generation. I usually do something about the problem rather than talking about it. I’m deeply affected by people struggles, pain and problems and therefore enjoy making a difference in people’s lives. The happiness of my fellow African brothers or sisters is my happiness. I’m a firm believer of justice, equal redistribution of wealth and happiness for all.
My mission is to expand, create and reinforce existing cooperation and partnership between Scandinavia and Africa and thereby help the African continent in its effort to establish sustainable development.
-WHAT IS YOUR VISION OF PANAFRICANISM?
-It’s an exciting question that a person like me doesn’t get often ask about and I’m happy to share my thoughts, view and beliefs. First and foremost PAN-AFRICANISM is NOT a word; it’s a way of life, a lifestyle; it’s BEHAVIOR and ATTITUDE towards Africa and fellow Africans.Panafricanism is being conscious of your African Origin and be convinced that all black people are bound together and can only achieve true freedom and liberation in unity. It is also the belief that African people, both on the African continent and in the Diaspora, share not merely a common history, but a common destiny. In a nutshell, it’s to have a sense of interconnected pasts.
Panafricanism is also the love for all Africans and the unification of all African countries including the return of its children in the Diaspora which starts out by ending colonialism, promote restitution and reparation; and reject colonial boarders, those dividing walls imposed on Africa by colonial powers.
My vision of Panafricanism is to see all of us rising up and shinning together, seeking to end negativity and striving to build a better and prosperous future for us and for the generation to come. It is also to see Freedom in all its fullness including social, cultural, economic and political!
The beliefs the State of the African Diaspora carries govern every action we take and therefore Panafricanism for us is also Africapitalism in which we the African Diaspora must play a positive role in Africa by making long-term investment in strategic sectors of the economy in a way that creates and multiplies local value to accelerate and broaden prosperity throughout the continent and among the diaspora.
One of the most limiting global beliefs that people around the world have is the idea that Africa is a poor continent and needs help from the western world. Well aware that our vision of panafricanism can only be achieved when we all unite, the State of the African Diaspora will then be a version of panafricanism in which Africa as a whole, together with us create a more broad-based and sustainable economy that is true to the needs of Africa and Africans. So Long Live Africa and long live the African Diaspora!!!
-WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHARACTER IN THE PANAFRICAN HISTORY AND WHY?
-We have so many great and inspiring Panafricanists, past and present. Members of the State of the African Diaspora, from the Prime minister to the ministers to our ambassadors and deputies are all panafricanists.
Pratically it is impossible to work or be associated with the state of the African diaspora without being a panafricanist!
I’m privileged and honored to work with such great panafricanists among whom are Prime Minister Louis- Georges Tin, Vice Prime Minister Keturah Amoako, and many other members in the government who have and still are
dedicating their time, effort, and finance to make this a reality. They are all my favourite.
-WITH THE ONSET OF TECHNOLOGY AND INVESTMENT IN AFRICA, HOW DO YOU SEE
AFRICA AND DIASPORA IN THE 21ST CENTURY?
-Simply put, technology is a better method of doing something you already do more efficiently. The speed in which technology changes have accelerated so much that today the technology defines our resources, our
wealth and determines even how wealthy we will be. For example, Technology of farming makes a land a resource, technology of burning oil makes gasoline or car a resource, rubber was a very strategic resource
prior to 1945 but now we use synthetic rubber that come from oil. What used to change in 60 years is now changing in 6 years.
Because we are living in a world where technology defines our wealth, the use of our resources will be unlimited – Technology is increasing our supply able resources faster than we are increasing our use of them,
which means that it will double our production, increase the continent productivity and thereby give us access to unlimited wealth.
Therefore for Africa, I can only predict multi decades of expansion of wealth of unfathomable proportion from technologies we expect to come on stream/screen – both in terms of Technology that helps create more
(productivity) and the technology that help us use more efficiently.
Interestingly, those of us who go along with those technological changes and get excited about them will get success. Those of us, who don’t go along them, will fail. So technology will make the difference in the
lives of Africans and will determine the destiny of our continent.
I also see Africa as the 3rd Super power after China depending on our ability to innovate and create new technology. The speed of exchanging information, the speed of how you and I communicate both in quality and
in quantity will absolutely define the advance of technology and the wealth of/ in the continent.
Investment plays a critical role is an important driver of economic growth and job creation. More than ever Africa needs investment especially in infrastructure such as roads, rails, ports, airports, power grids (electricity supply), IT and a stable and reliable internet connection.
The lack of infrastructure hinders not only the growth of Africa but also businesses, entrepreneurs and farmers. Think about! A study showed that up to 50% of African fruits and vegetables are spoiled before they
reach markets. Furthermore, the success of the Africa Free Trade agreement, Africa own mega trade deal will depend on in-country and intra African road, rail and airports connection.
Therefore Africa investment strategy should not solely rely on FDI but rather on its diaspora and gradually replace FDI to Africapitalism which is a long-term investment in strategic sectors of the economy done by the African Diaspora with the purpose to create and multiply local value, technology, innovation that accelerate and broaden prosperity and sustainable economy that is true to the needs of Africa and Africans.
The State of the African Diaspora through the many projects mentioned by the Prime Minister will play an important role in those long-term investments. In regards to technology Though the number of active tech hubs across
Africa is growing steadily, rising from 314 in 2016 to 618 in 2019, with more due to launch, tech hubs and innovation spaces are at the heart of the state of the African diaspora portfolio. Projects such as the Silicon Valley led by our minister of finance and the Space by our minister of Science are designed to promote innovation and technology in
different parts of Africa. On a personal side I’m working on a project called Quantum valley which
I hope to run in partnership with the State of the Diaspora and as an integrated part of the Silicon Valley project
Quantum Valley is designed to support start-ups and help them thrive and build entrepreneurial tech communities and will be the first productive Tech-hub and startup ecosystem for high-tech innovation and scientific
development. Quantum Valley will also be a center of excellence for innovation, creativity, science, and engineering researchers and will bring professionals and experts from the African Diaspora to come together to reflect, understand, build and develop smart and sustainable solutions for the development of Africa.
The goal is to create and instill an entrepreneurial spirit in the mind of Africans and thereby prove to Africans that the wealth of Africa is not the mineral resources but “The Brain”. Thus, the Quantum Valley is expected to support the ICT sector but also to offer catalytic support in other industries such as agriculture, health, education, livestock, farming, fishing and e-government administration.
Quantum Valley will be a place where one can dream the impossible dream.
With a onset of technology and investment the State of the African Diaspora through these types of projects will showcase a great example of “strengthening Africa through the Diaspora and the Diaspora through Africa”.
-WHAT INITIATIVE AND PROJECTS HAVE MANIFESTED THROUGH YOUR POSITION
WITHIN THE STATE OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA
-I first joined the state of the African diaspora as a deputy then later on was appointed as the secretary general. My biggest achievement is to have been able to assist the Executive move toward our goals.
-WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING TO DO IN THE FUTURE FOR THE STATE OF AFRICAN
-The office of the Secretary General is in itself a crucial function as it is the Spine of the organization. Its main function is to protect the internal organs, provide structural support and balance to maintain an upright posture of the state and at the same time enable flexible motion. So this is what I will continue to do as well as assisting to
the best of my ability the PM and Vice PM who are tirelessly working to move this organization forward for the benefit of Africa and the Diaspora.