An invitation to collaborate as a cohesive African Diaspora (revised)
BY TONY KWAME ANSAH, JR.
When it comes to the African Community, there are those who give back and contribute to the motherland, and those who hold back. Various reasons lead to one situation or the other. Tony Kwame Ansah Jr, a selfless young Ghanaian-American entrepreneur, is tirelessly building a bridge between Africans right here in the United States and those back home on the continent. In this invitation, he shares with us his experience and story to collaborate as a cohesive African Community.
According to migration.org, about 3.3 million sub-Saharan Africans reside in the United States as of 2015. This African population has an estimated household income of roughly $50,000 annually. They are a community that believes in investing in the future as is shown by the fact that of all the immigrant groups in the United States, Africans have the highest percentage of Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate degrees. Africans also rank high when comparing those that hold professional positions in management, business, science, and arts. Finally, this demographic is rooted in a strong belief in loyalty to bloodline and community.
Tony was born and raised by Ghanaian parents in Rhode Island, U.S.A. From a very young age, he was exposed to entrepreneurship and business ownership by Mom [Linda] and Dad [Anthony]. His parents had a West African convenient store for several years between late 1980 till early 2000. They sold everything from kenkey, banku, powdered fufu, yam, gari to palm oil. This was where, at age eight, Tony started to sell candies, mostly to adolescents. Basically, he would buy candies wholesale and sell them for retail. Tony then saved some of his profit and put the rest back into the childhood business.
When he got old enough to work at his parents’ store, Tony did a lot of money transfer transactions from Africans abroad to Africans back home. In 2015, remittances received by sub-Saharan African countries through formal channels were $35 billion, according to the World Bank. It was through these exchanges that he realized how much financial support Africans offered family, relatives, and friends. But little did Tony know that this would later come back around in a circle. By default, he became part of this interconnected and somewhat intertwined world of the African Diaspora and Continental Africa.
In the summer of 2017, Tony built a Pan-African business community. He saw the need to create a central location for Africans at home and abroad to find entrepreneurs, professionals, businesses, and organizations. A space where there could be an exchange of information to sell products and provide services. In addition, Tony saw the need for a place to initiate and facilitate collaboration and partnerships among the African Diaspora and African Natives. As a result, he worked with a Ghanaian web designer to donate websites to a few nonprofit organizations in Africa who lacked an online presence and a platform to receive electronic donations. Overall, this community yielded some positive results.
In late 2017, Tony embarked on a two-month journey to raise funds for some small nonprofit organizations in Africa. These nonprofits were great visionaries with causes to impact lives. For instance, one of these NGOs (D.F.) provides reproductive healthcare programs to disadvantaged teen mothers in Ghana throughout the year. However, they all faced challenges to fundraise locally and globally. As a solution, Tony took the initiative to facilitate donations from U.S.A. to Africa. Luckily, people donated because they saw an opportunity to support universal causes regardless of its location. Overall, this fundraising campaign went relatively well and allowed nonprofits involved to continue their great and impactful community work in Ghana.
From last summer throughout 2018 so far, Tony has been able to help new African organizations to design and develop their initial structure and to register them at state and federal levels respectively. He sponsored and still sponsors a group of nonprofits in Africa for sustainable development philanthropy. Lastly, he offers advice to microbusiness owners within the African community as a social impact entrepreneur. It’s his little way of giving back to Africa, whether home or abroad.
As you can see, there are givers and contributors within the African Diaspora with a purpose to bring about positive social and economic changes in Africa and elsewhere. Likeminded folks should join hands to help grow and develop sustainable social enterprises for Africa/Africans. If you’re a supporter or proponent of such a vision, won’t you reach out to collaborate as a cohesive African Community?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony Ansah, Jr. is a self-published author, a public administrator by profession, and a social entrepreneur based in Rhode Island, U.S.A. He is also the founder and owner of Ansah Africa, a consulting and marketing startup established in 2017.
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