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Views Losing Alone Or Winning Together
By Nique Fajors


As the world becomes ever more competitive on a global scale, are Africa and people of African ancestry prepared for the battles? How will we win? Everyone from the late scholar Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop, in his numerous writings, to Senegalese music star Youssou N'Dour, in his recent song “New Africa,” suggests that defeat is guaranteed without unity.

Most analyses of Africa, the Caribbean, and Afro-America highlight similar weaknesses. Each group is on the outside looking in as the West, Japan – and increasingly, China – make strategic resource decisions for the rest of the world that will continue to weaken those outside of their network. Africa is asking for debt relief from the G8. African Americans are searching for reparations from the U.S. government. The Caribbean is struggling to break through various U.S.-centric trading blocks. Each group suffers from a shortage of financial and intellectual capital.


There are potentially three common areas shared by people of African ancestry -- economics, cultural ties, and a search for respect.

Lifetime ownership is at the core of the economic challenge. African Americans create billion-dollar ideas, but don’t own the financial results of those ideas. A clear example can be seen in the fact that black urban America’s massive contributions to pop culture have not brought an equally massive financial gain. Similarly, Africans have tremendous natural resources in their countries, but do not collect the money for the finished products. With gems, metals, agricultural products and oil the greatest profit margin opportunity is in the finished product. Those riches are collected and counted outside of Africa. 

Cultural ties exist, though most are superficial. These include common foods, dance, humor, dress, and hairstyles that survived the middle passage and colonization. A recent exhibit at The DuSable Museum in Chicago depicted the many African traditions that African Americans continue to practice during funerals and mourning periods.  Christianity and Islam are shared religious systems, but they were
mostly forced upon Africans during their enslavement and colonization. For this reason, they are ties that both bind and impede progress. Howard University’s development of a genetic test for people of African ancestry that can identify a person’s specific ethnic heritage of an individual could lead many to a renaissance of interest in Africa.

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The third common issue is an ongoing search for respect. Africans are eager to reclaim their historical position in the world as major contributors to civilization. Respect also has a present-day meaning for people of African ancestry. Efforts to highlight media bias in reporting, boycotts of various companies, and civil disobedience in the pursuit of equal justice – all are grounded in a drive for respect.

What is the success model for moving forward? Examples can be found outside of the African Diaspora in India and Indians in America. The amount of wealth created by Indian Americans over the last ten years in high tech, and increasingly in the Internet space, is remarkable. In a recent study for the Indian government reported in the Wall Street Journal, it was estimated that more than 300 Indian entrepreneurs have a personal net worth of more than $5 million. Their collective net worth is $25 billion and they have some $6 billion available to invest. The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research estimated in 1998 that 774 companies in Silicon Valley were run by Indian and Indian American entrepreneurs.

Indian Americans have not created their wealth just to secure power and respect in America. They have begun a systematic process of shifting portions of their wealth back to India to create more wealth and prosperity. The technology successes of India are many. Bangalore, a high tech center in India, produces more software source code than any other city in the world.

Nique Fajors is a Harvard MBA and the author of Cultural & Economic Revitalization --
A Five Step Reference for Overcoming Black Failure.