Bernard Lodge/Innswood Estate Raises Historic, Unsettled Land Tenure Issues

PM--Lee-Chin Lee-Chin and PM Holness

Kingston, Jamaica, Sunday, September 11, 2022. The Advocates Network join many Jamaicans in expressing deep concern and unease about Michael Lee Chin’s plan to convert 3,000 acres of agricultural lands for real estate development. The removal of plots of lands from intergenerational inhabitants and consolidating these plots into large land parcels which are then sold as development lots to private interests is troubling and raises broader unsettled land tenure issues. Traditionally, these lands have been cultivated by subsistence small-farmers to alleviate poverty and contribute to Jamaica’s food security. Importantly, these lands enable small farmers to construct their own affordable housing solutions to occupy with their families as proud owners, as well as to create a capital asset that can provide the basis for intergenerational wealth. This issue is of historic significance!

At Emancipation in 1834, some lands were made available to the Freed Africans who purchased them and built houses and cultivated the land; ownership of these lands now exists outside of now formal land titling processes. By 1865, there was widescale dislocation of many of these small land-owners, with the colonial government refusing to make available additional lands for them to purchase, resulting in widescale unrest. The Morant Bay Uprising was sparked primarily over discontent with land tenue issues, which have remained unresolved till today.  

In addition, persons who worked on many of the sugar estates were often given lands as part of compensation for working there over the years. The Bernard Lodge Estate (approximately 5,397.02 acres) and the Innswood Estate (approximately 3,000 acres), both in St Catherine, are examples of “such compensation by land.” Yet with no apparent recognition of the historical significance of these estates, Bernard Lodge and Innswood are currently slated for government development to accommodate future population growth of the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA). This present-day eviction of small-settlers from these former sugar lands continues the historic, intergenerational disenfranchisement of farmers which began with the colonial government in the post-emancipation period. Instead of providing adequate and fair land tenure to these farmers, they have been relegated into ‘squatters’ because they have no titles. Again, they have been issued eviction notices, driven off the land, and their historic traditional settlements and housing architecture demolished for sale to the wealthy few. 

Furthermore, we disagree fundamentally with the trend towards increasing urban sprawl and the conversion of our best agricultural lands into concrete jungles for commercial and housing development. Our focus should be on proper planning, improving, and upgrading our existing urban centres.

Importantly, in a country, which is struggling to contain its burgeoning crime problem, the findings of CAPRI reports (2019 & 2020), which suggest a direct correlation between landlessness, unaffordable/inadequate housing, and increased crime, need to be taken seriously.  

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Julius Garvey and SOAD Create the New Black Star Line

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Every year, August 17 marks the Marcus Garvey Day, which is one of the national days of the State of the African Diaspora (SOAD). This year, for this special occasion, Dr Julius Garvey, who is Marcus Garvey’s son, and Dr Louis-Georges Tin, Prime Minister of SOAD, have just signed a cooperation agreement the aim of which is « to create a maritime company called The New Black Star Line, to revive the Black Star Line, the company once created by Marcus Garvey », as stated in article 1 of the text.

Last year, on december 31, 2021, both parties had already signed a cooperation agreement. Now, this new article is added to reinforce this important cooperation. As explained in article 2, « the company will work on repatriation, to support the African Diaspora in their effort to reconnect with the continent, and it will also encourage Africans from the continent to visit the Diaspora ». But it will also work with cargo « in an effort to promote South-South commercial relationships » (article 3). Though it is very recent, this initiative has already raised a lot of interest. Different partners on the international scale have expressed their desire to be part of the story.

The Prime Minister declared : « The New Black Star Line is an effort to continue and reinforce the example set up by Marcus Garvey. While our ancestors were deported from Africa, the New Black Star Line will help us to reverse this bad energy and go back to Africa. To sign this cooperation agreement with Dr Julius Garvey is a privilege. This initiative is not only commercial, it is also political, I would even say spiritual ».

Upon signing the document, Dr Julius Garvey concluded : « It is time to carry forward my Father’s Legacy.

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IDB Says Caribbean Firms Need Help

Caribbean-Businesses IDB study finds that capital levels at companies are still 20 per cent lower than they were before the pandemic began.

A new study by the Center for Global Development (CGD) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) finds that many companies in the Caribbean survived the pandemic by slashing investment. However, this decline now threatens to constrain the region's economic recovery.

To reverse the situation and prevent it from leading to a type of "economic long COVID," where a weak private sector fails to create jobs and stimulate economic growth, governments in the region are being encouraged to actively pursue a series of policies to help companies boost investment and hire new employees.

These are among the key findings of the new report which examined the balance sheets from a large number of companies across the region and discovered that, despite an economic recovery in 2020 and 2021, capital levels at companies are still 20 per cent lower than they were before the pandemic began.

"While it is good news that relatively few larger firms failed, the drop in their productive capital implies significant scarring and threatens the region's economic growth," said Andrew Powell, principal advisor of the Research Department at the IDB.

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Saudi Arabia explores investment opportunities in Jamaica.

6577031 Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left), makes a point of interest to H.E. Badr Al Badr (second right), deputy minister for investors outreach – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia while looking on are (from second left) Alok Jain, chairman of Port Authority of Jamaica; Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism and Senator Aubyn Hill, minister of industry, investment and commerce at the Jamaica

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the world's top twenty largest economies. They have a G.D.P of Eight Hundred billion US dollars, which positions the country to always be seeking out new investment opportunities. On Friday, July 8, 2022, Saudi Arabia Deputy Minister of Investors Outreach H.E. BADR Al BADR led a small delegation on a special visit to Jamaica, after his trip from the Dominican Republic to discuss investment prospects in Jamaica. He stated that the Caribbean has become a priority zone for investments and business partnerships for Saudi Arabia and Jamaica as the third-largest economy put them on the top of the list. 

He was among an eighty-member delegation of government representatives and investors from Saudi Arabia that came to Jamaica on Friday. The visit comes a day after the Saudi-Carib investor's forum in the Dominican Republic.  Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica's Minister of Tourism, states that the visit comes as a result of two and half years of discussion with the kingdom of Arabia. The Prime Minister of Jamaica posits that Jamaica is placed to receive a ray of investment. The contingent is particularly interested in tourism, business processing outsourcing, technology, and warehousing.  H.E. BADR Al BADR also stated that they are looking for attractive incentives. He pointed to the concession that they receive in other countries for twenty and thirty years. If they could get like fifty years in Jamaica, it would open other opportunities like access to skilled laborers and health care workers for Jamaica. The government also stated that they will be seeking out other investment opportunities despite the threat of a global recession.  

Source: TVJ News

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Bartlett Supports Vision of a Sustainable Tourism Economy by 2030

HM-UN-Oceans-Conference-pub Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett and Kenya’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Najib Balala at the 2022 UN Ocean Conference: Sustainable Coastal and Marine Tourism Launch Event held today (June 29) in Lisbon, Portugal.

KINGSTON, Jamaica; June 29, 2022: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has given his support to the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy’s (Ocean Panel) vision of accomplishing a viable tourism economy in less than 10 years.

He was giving the keynote address at the 2022 UN Ocean Conference: Sustainable Coastal and Marine Tourism Launch Event in Lisbon, Portugal, today (June 29).  The Ocean Conference is being held under the theme “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: Stocktaking, partnerships and solutions”.

During his address, Minister Bartlett pointed out that “Jamaica fully endorses the goal of the Ocean Panel to achieve a sustainable tourism economy by 2030.”

In reiterating his support, Mr. Bartlett stressed that “the health and sustainability of our oceans are critical to the survival of the tourism industry”, adding that “the role of healthy marine and coastal systems in promoting sustainable tourism is especially worthy of recognition.”

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10 Skills Needed To Win In The 21st Century

IMG_18062022_202903_200_x_200_pixel The future of innovation

Over the last decade, the respective governments have pushed vision 2030. Which is to make Jamaica the place to live, work , raise families and do business. While this is an idyllic situation, little effort has been put into making this dream a reality. Which begs the question, is this only a dream fed to the masses to sound progressive by the respective governments? The novel coronavirus forced us to adapt to new changes and while some progress was made, it was done in haste and more improvements need to be made. For real change to happen, the government must emphasize personal development in the form of different skills that can then be translated to make vision 2030 a reality. If safe environments are created to facilitate and foster these skills, vision 2030 may be a reality.

Commendations must also go to the government for trying to create some training programs like (HEART/Trust NTA) to teach youths a certain skill set, but most of the skills worth getting are micro-skills or soft skills. If they can master these skills, the big skills will be easier to conquer and will also create innovators that will drive the country forward. Here is a top ten (10) run down of the different skills needed to win in the 21st century. 
Communication skills: Learning how to communicate effectively with others.

For effective communication to take place, the information being transmitted must be understood and the communication being made must be clear. Imagine having a good idea but because of poor communication skills, you are not understood. This effective communication must be pushed as an important skill set to possess. 

Learn to lead: Learn to get people excited about an idea. As the adage goes, the 'future belongs to the brave'.

 The future is going to need leaders who get people excited about an idea and lead them forward. For change to happen, people must be taught how to lead, which can pave the way for innovation to happen. 

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Pan African Roots Synergy Summit

roundtable-group-1-980x551-1 Members of the Pan African Roots Synergy Delegation

The Summit was spearheaded by the Organizing & Planning Committee of the Roundtable: Professor Dr. David Horne, President of the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus (SRDC), Archbishop Dr. Chidiebere Anelechi Ogbu, President of The African Diaspora Union (AFRIDU) and Mrs. Grace Abena James, “Right To Return Alliance” along with the representation of various Pan-African organizations and AFRICORA/SOAD represented by VPM Keturah Amoako and the SOAD members resident in Ethiopia discussed and deliberated for 4 days the Diaspora Declaration of 2012 ratified by the AU Heads of State.

At the end of the 4 days, two documents were produced in response to the Diaspora Declaration which will be submitted to the relevant AU organs, more particularly, CIDO and ECOSOCC.

These documents can be read here:-

  1. THE ADDIS ABABA MAY25th_2022 DECLARATION RESOLUTION MB
  2. THE ADDIS ABEBA MAY25th_2022 TEN YEARS AFTER SUMMARY AGREEMENTS MB

The Roundtable Committee and all organizations represented are hopeful that CIDO and ECOSOCC will act upon the recommendations and necessary actions as detailed in the documentation to ensure greater involvement, participation, and representation of 6th Region Pan-African organizations, NGOs, and entities to fully integrate within the organs of the AU and to ensure that the 6th Region will have a permanent and consistent presence at the AU table.

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Democratic Republic of Congo President, Félix Tshisekedi commits to fighting deforestation of the Congo basin

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President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Félix Tshisekedi has committed to contesting the deforestation of the Congo basin rainforest. The Congo basin rainforest is second largest in the world after the Amazon.

At the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow on Tuesday, Tshisekedi, chairs person the African Union, stated that his country was more determined with its contribution at the national level to achieve a 21% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. His country plans to launch a programme aimed at planting one billion trees by 2023 and expanding their energy mix to include greener choices.

"In addition, the protection of the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples is essential," Tshisekedi posited.

The green recovery plan for Africa set in motion by Tshisikedi as President of the African Union, is focused on strengthening its actions in favour of environmental sustainability and prosperity in Africa.

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Shorts Report Shared by YouTube to Highlight Trends and Tips

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There has been a growing interest in short videos, which has been adopted by almost every social media platform. YouTube has started sharing a regular “Shorts Report” to provide updates on what’s trending.

Along with what is trending, the Shorts Report also highlights popular users and creation notes to help in your Shorts process. These notes include information on how to maximize shorts engagements, using audio in your clips, and how to build an audience.

YouTube also has a Shorts educational video series. Shorts are already scoring 6.5 billion daily views, so you may want to take this into consideration.

Below is October’s Shorts report:

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Pinterest’s New Shoppable Live-Stream Series: ‘Pinterest TV’

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Social media platforms have been incorporating the trend of live-stream commerce. The newest platform is Pinterest, which will launch live shopping events on a new initiative called “Pinterest TV”.

Pinterest TV will host creators on its live platform, and the app’s “pinning” feature will come in handy to make these live streams available for view later.

A statement from Pinterest’s newsroom on October 29, 2021:

“Today we’re announcing Pinterest TV, a series of live, original and shoppable episodes featuring creators right on Pinterest. Pinterest TV episodes are refreshed each weekday and will be recorded and available for Pinners to view on-demand, and save and rewatch later.”

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Pinterest TV, Pinterest's New Shoppable Live-Stream Series

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Social media platforms have been incorporating the trend of live-stream commerce. The newest platform is Pinterest, which will launch live shopping events, on a new initiative called “Pinterest TV”.

Pinterest TV will host creators on its live platform, and the app’s “pinning” feature will come in handy to make these live streams available for view later.

A statement from Pinterest’s newsroom on October 29, 2021:

“Today we’re announcing Pinterest TV, a series of live, original and shoppable episodes featuring creators right on Pinterest. Pinterest TV episodes are refreshed each weekday and will be recorded and available for Pinners to view on-demand, and save and rewatch later.”

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Virtual Exhibits Are No Longer Effective

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Informational/educational and those that tried to replicate a tradeshow floor with virtual exhibitors are the two categories that virtual corporate events have fallen into during the pandemic. Of the two categories, educational programming gets a higher number of attendees. When trade show sponsors talk about a hybrid approach to future events, they mostly mention the educational component that the virtual attendees will experience.

Publisher of Airport Improvement Magazine, Paul Bowers, stated that after experiencing both virtual exhibit halls and virtual conferences during the pandemic, he is convinced that virtual exhibit halls do not work, and virtual conferences can effectively substitute for learning in person.

“Virtual trade show substitutes weren’t a complete waste, but I’d be hard-pressed to ever exhibit at one again,” Bowers said. “There is no return on my investment. On one I participated in, I paid the same amount that I pay for the in-person conference, and it was a waste of money. The seminar part can be done well virtually. I’ll spend money to send our editor to attend a virtual conference, but I won’t spend to exhibit virtually.”

 

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Customers are Your Most Powerful Marketing Asset

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Investing in customer service is a powerful marketing strategy as loyal customers will help you acquire new customers, free of charge, by convincing prospects to interact with your brand. Their positive testimonials will be more effective than any of your current marketing efforts — and cheaper, too!

Most people relate to each shopping experience by having either recommended stores with good experiences or complaints about the ones they didn’t like. Therefore, your customers’ experience should be number one on your list of priorities. Of course, not everything will always go according to plan. However, when there’s an issue, ensure to turn your problems into opportunities and solutions.

In addition to good customer service, you can keep customers happy by providing incentives and getting them to feel invested in your brand. Here is a list of ways to gain some goodwill from the community that keeps you in business.

 Give customers a reason to come back. If you can capture customer data, send an email expressing your gratitude or text along with a coupon. You may also encourage them to return sooner rather than later by making the coupon time bound.

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Joe and Angella Whitter Foundation Fulfilling A Need To Help Needy Scholars

Group-Media-101021_600x300 Oct. 7, 2021 - Tertiary Scholarship Award Recognition. Lf. to Rt. Front Row: Father Hollis Lynch and Angella Whitter, CEO, Joe & Angella Whitter Foundation. They are joined by Tertiary Students awardees. Photo Credit: Darren Grant

Joe & Angella Whitter Foundation is helping to fulfill the dreams of young men and women with vision through its mandate of providing scholarship to assist tertiary level students enrolled in select educational courses in Western Jamaica. To date the foundation, which earmarked $4 million for education and $1 million for medical needs, has awarded $2.9 million to 26 students enrolled in Caribbean Maritime University, Montego Bay Community College, University of the Commonwealth Caribbean, University of the West Indies and University of Technology, Jamaica.

The Foundation was launched December 2021 on the heels of the 10th Anniversary Commemoration of the Whitter Village one of the flagship properties owned by Mrs. Angella Whitter and her late husband Slidie “Joe” Whitter, the main benefactors of the foundation. The foundation has as its mandate the awarding of annual scholarships to qualified students from Western Jamaica.

Students should be studying in the areas of entrepreneurship, business management, construction, building management, architecture and engineering with a Grade Point Average (GPA) more than 2.5.

Mrs. Angella Whitter, an ardent advocate for higher education, is passionate for developing nation building and in speaking to the foundation board recently said “the need of students in Western Jamaica far outweigh what the foundation can provide in 2021.  I thank each member of the foundation board for your achievements to date, yet challenge you to do more for 2022.”

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Frequently Asked Questions about State of the African Diaspora

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What is the African Diaspora ?

It is a group of more than 350 millions inhabitants in the world. Some of them left Africa a few years ago as migrants, others left the continent as slaves as they were deported several centuries ago. All are people of African descent, living in Brazil, Jamaica, United States, France, India, etc. It is the third population in the world, after China and India, before United States and Indonesia.

What is the State of the African Diaspora ?

The State of the African Diaspora is an entity that has one goal : to reinforce Africa through the Diaspora, and the Diaspora through Africa.

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Restitution of Now!

Restitution-now-bronze-images400x50_20211009-081537_1 Benin Bronze Images

On October 7 and 9, the Prime Minister of the State of the African Diaspora will be invited to the Africa-France Summit to deliver a speech on Restitution.

In this area, Dr Louis-Georges Tin and his parties have already accomplished many things: the law passed in France for the benefit of Benin and Senegal, the law passed in Belgium for the benefit of the DRC, and the resolution passed in respect of was the case. European Parliament for restitution and reparation. It is a historic movement, but it is certainly not enough.

ALL African countries should receive ALL their artifacts. This is why the Prime Minister wants the subject to be on the table during the French presidency of the European Union, from January 2022. This is now what he is discussing with the French authorities.

In the meantime, SOAD is launching a major campaign to give more impetus to the Prime Minister. On October 1 and 2, the government organized an international conference on restitution. Specific guests included Chief Fortune Charumbira, Speaker of the African Union Parliament, Co-chair of the Royal Chamber of DICO; the special representative of the President of the African Union, President Félix Tshisekedi; Daagbo Hounon, Supreme Leader of the Vodou Cult; Saliou Mamadou, grandson of the former President of Guinea, Sekou Touré.

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University of SOAD Launched September 20, 2021

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Welcome to the inauguration of our University. It was here that on July 1, International Day of the African Diaspora, we announced the upcoming opening of University of the State of African Diaspora (USOAD).

The theme this year is “Heritage for All”. For everyone in Europe, but also for the whole planet. Heritage is the heritage of everyone around the world. Especially to Africans who have created and endowed the planet with incredible treasures. African heritage must stop being despoiled and must be shared with Africans. Laws must decree as quickly as possible the return of all African heritage to Africa. Human remains, as an extension of what has been decreed for the return, for example of the Venus Hottentot, must be returned without delay.

We should think about a Pan-African heritage day which would allow us, following a careful inventory and identification of the goods of the past, to put in place actions for the future. A program that would determine: the conservation of its goods, the schedule of returns, the exhibitions to be made, the places, the circulation of works of art in a physical or digital way. Everyone should be able to enjoy it. We call for greater inclusion and recognition of diversity; review existing stories for better transmission to future generations.

Within the Faculty of Heritage, we will work on tangible and intangible heritage. On the origins of heritage. Make an inventory to better soak up each object of art.

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Benin Bronzes: Germany to return looted artefacts to Nigeria

Benin-Bronzes_1-Getty-Images Thousands of sculptures and carvings were taken during the destruction of Benin City in present-day Nigeria

Germany has agreed to return to Nigeria priceless artefacts that were stolen during the colonisation of Africa.

British troops looted thousands of artworks known as the Benin Bronzes from the Kingdom of Benin, in present-day Nigeria, in 1897.

Following auctions, some of the bronzes ended up in museums and private collections across Europe.

They hold deep cultural significance, and there is growing international pressure to give them back.

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SOAD Pan-African Journalists' Caucus Announces Country Coordinators

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Paris, Tuesday 27 April 2021.

The Pan-African Journalists' Caucus was launched by the African Diaspora State on Tuesday 06 April 2021. At this inaugural meeting, the decision was taken to set up a series of structures, including "Country Coordinators", who are the operational arm of the Caucus in its campaigns around the world. This will strengthen Africa's pride and dignity as the "Cradle of Humanity".

On the proposal of H.E. Ambassador Élisée Héribert-Label ADJOVI, Chairperson of the Pan-African Journalists' Caucus, the following Country Coordinators have been appointed:

West Africa: Benin, Joël Samson BOSSOU;  Burkino Faso, Elie KABORE; Central African Republic, Jean Fernand KOENA;
Ivory Coast, Sylvain NAMOYA; Gambia, Sanna CAMARA;  Ghana, Philip Nii LARTEY; Guinea Conakry, Billy Nankouman CONDÉ; Liberia, Hannah N. GETERMINAH; Mali, Paul MBEN; Niger, Mahamadou ABOULAYE, Nigeria; Abdoulaye ISAH;  Senegal, Maymouna N'DIR; Sierra Leone; Theresa R. SESAY;  Togo, Ferdinand GADE.

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Women’s Fund for Development a Network of Entrepreneurs – Sponsored by SOAD

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In March, the month of women and feminism, the State of the African Diaspora ratified its commitment to African and Afro-descendant women by creating the Development Fund in support of these Women. As a result, on 21 March, the World Day of combating racial discrimination, the results of the ‘First Call’ were released, in which 16 women-led projects were selected, with an emphasis on topics ranging from food production, health, education to remembrance of our history. It highlights the international scope of the call and its results, which expresses a remarkable area of concentration in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the participation of young Afro-Feminist leaders.

Chaired by our Prime Minister, The Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Gender Equality, the first workshop was held with women whose projects were selected, starting the process of implementation of these, under a rigorous schedule, letter of commitment and an accompanying plan with international experts. There, the Network of Entrepreneurs funded by the State of the African Diaspora was born.

The general objective of this Network is promoting the autonomy of Afro-descendant and African women, through charitable and successful entrepreneurship strategies. It includes Afro-descendant and African women from Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Dr. Louis-Georges Tin                                                Dr. Rosa Campoalegre Septien

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