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A Mauritius Based Africa/Asia Approach to 21st Century and Beyond: Global Justice and Peace

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My dream for years has been to develop, one day ,somewhere, a global platform for multicultural restorative justice and peace with an enriching and inspiring interfaith mission and foundation. That is why I  feel blessed to have the privilege to come and experience  Mauritius at this time in my life after enjoying such a long enriching global career indeed  still growing. 

 At this point in  the history of the nation, Africa, Asia, and the world as a whole,we human beings are in desperate need for a global place for multicultural restorative justice and peace best practices encouragement,  designing,monitoring,and transplanting. Why can’t Mauritius become that global capital of justice and peacemaking in our crystallizing 21st century world , indeed,  for well beyond? It is a question to not only ponder but to act proactively on given the nation’s pivotal geopolitical location as a knowledge economy based between both continents as an ambitious  emerging major African multiethnic/religious democracy. 

The Present Crumbling of White Supremacy in Global Affairs

 Nations and their restorative justice institutions and communities we thought would be such  sustainable venues of global peacemaking –Botswana, Canada,Ethiopia,Rwanda, South Africa, Switzerland,Tanzania, and United States , have at best achieved partially and in other respects , have  failed miserably in this most vital global role in these emerging century years. Their   partial successes and utter failures are  rooted in the same thing.

Namely, I am referring to the Eurocentric or more commonly called White Supremacy presumptions and more conscience norms and values. Their  undergirding of current dominant global justice and peace paradigms of the West and westernized East and South fall well short of what holistic restorative justice must be to authentically transform societies dehumanized  through the invention of race and its synchronisms with other dehumanizing human constructed statuses such as age, economic class, disability, gender, nationality,  religion and tribe. 

This is because in the 18th- 20th century world European imperialists made to dominate and exploit those they colonized and reduced down to mythological inferior races any justice and peace perspective, was  designed in their interests.So reforms to better the conditions of agricultural or urban colonial workers bubbling up from grass roots movements or trickling down as policies were designed to maintain the status quo though with some degree of marginal crumbs tossing  structural adjustment. 

We even saw this happening in Mauritius as part of the story of the origins of the Labour Party in the 1930s to 1960s and its fight for ordinary workers met by colonial and economic elites giving in here and there incrementally always at the end of the day on their terms. It is a microcosm of what it has been like in a  world for centuries where those of European descent all over the world have addressed justice and peace issues only for their own interests. The rise and quick fall of Black Reconstruction in the late 19th Century U.S.; the Whitening Slavery Abolition Policies in Brazil , the Imperialist designs of the post-World War I Treaty of Versailles and the formation of the League of Nations and later the United Nations  were all supposed to promote justice and peace in  terms perpetuating White authority and producing the sustained marginality of non-whites . In terms of global  justice and peace international infrastructure efforts embedded in White Supremacy presumptions we have experienced how European nations and the United States have at will broke institutional rules and sided with their White nations allies.Though , for instance,in the 1930s , Mussolini’s Italy and Selassie’ s Ethiopia both belonged to the League of Nations, the former was allowed to attack the later. 

In more recent times, the United Nations ignoring the 1994 Rwanda Genocide and allowing the American government to attack and destabilize Iraq and Libya with the backing of their European allies are  as well illustrations of how much global  justice and peace issues are  too often driven by Eurocentric unilateral interests. 

Meanwhile ,faulty western global knowledge continues to downspiral all of us in dangerous ways while the world cries for the decolonization of understanding how the world really is in all voices. For instance,when the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt and the bloodless couple which ousted Zimbabwe’s Robert Magube caught Western elites off guard their most distinguished pundits confessed the limitations of ( White Supremacy) paradigms.And same for their puzzlement over the defeat of the French and then the Americans in Vietnam and the defeat of the British, Russians, and now Americans in  Afghanistan. And now the  western public health inability to explain why COVID-19 pandemic registers lower in many areas of Africa and Asia than in Europe and North America or their reluctance to admit more fully  non- westerners have   indigenous solutions they should be listening to and adapting with public  acknowledgement. 

As long as this White Supremacy hegemony in global justice and peace endeavors are  in place we will have increasing conflictual  and other misunderstanding problems given the South to North and West to East geopolitical shifts.  This is because though gradual in some ways and rapid in others the shifts symbolize the crumbling of Eurocentric White Supremacy cognitive styles and  economic power and privilege and the emergence of African and Asian power and privilege with growing cultural and economic influences. In regards to cultural influences the  recent opening  of Tsinghua University’s  Schwarzman Scholars School which is much larger than the Anglo Saxon Rhodes Scholar Program we see the global  spread of   Chinese and Indian  hardware and software and fashion brands as well as foodstuffs and life philosophies. 

Similar to historical relationships among the White dominated continental regions  of the world – Australia,  New Zealand,Europe, Canada/ USA in North America , and  Central/South America   we are now  finding Africans and Asians searching for strong alliances on numerous critical fronts bound to get stronger as the years roll forward. 

African/Asian Justice and Peace: Key Principles 

In this emerging constellation of  African/ African alliances, there must be a venue constructed and sustained, while changing effectively with future times, to become globally renowned for world justice, and peace.And it must be centered in a deep interfaith spiritual and religious compass which also includes the faith of those who are of the highest moral integrity who do not belong to an institutional faith but respects all positive faiths.

This is because no matter what or who we believe in, external to us and to our humanity we are all spiritual beings on human journeys.  As a critically important needed improvement over state oriented Eurocentric models of peace making which disconnect from spiritual and religious considerations ( with faith institutions and spiritual approaches taking on more informal roles and positions), African and Asian  justice and peace models will root their best practices models in spiritual and religious considerations   to bring together individuals, institutions, communities, societies, and global region leaders together to do justice and peacemaking.

It is critical to say justice and peace not the  liberal and neoliberal Eurocentric convention of peace and justice in African/ Asian modeling. Africans/Diasporas and Asians/Diasporas  as ex-colonized and otherwise people marginalized and excluded from historical  structures of Eurocentric power and privilege  should know of all peoples the cosmetic and failed consequences of getting peace while the structures of wealth distribution and social, cultural, and political domination don’t change significantly. What may change  ,which is toothless tokenism rather than authentic transformation, is the expansion of opportunity structures for well assimilated ex-colonials and racialized minorities to sit at the master’s table as long as they go along with the master’s agenda.

The world of our future as global human beings much change for the betterment and empowerment of all or what I call developmental empowerment. Developmental empowerment  as proposed African/ Asian  justice and peace  models  would dramatically  shift us from Eurocentric notions of democracy in practice have been  for the elite handful and tyranny, marginality, stigma, and exclusion for the majority to democracies authentically transparent and  inclusive of all citizens thus with all enjoying their human rights.All citizens must be   respected and treated like decent human beings socially and culturally rather than just in flowering  words of a constitution with a written though not holistically practiced rule of law. 

The African/ Asian justice and peace models would break  from the free world/ unfree world binary paradigm of global  affairs which is the product of the American and Western response to the post-World War I Bolshevik Revolution which would sow the seeds for the post-World War II Cold War. Democracy in the African/ Asian framework means the recognition and practice of all human rights rather than the type of  constitutional governance. This is an important observation to make as we Americans are finally being forced to admit as we did in the 1950s and 1960s Black human rights movements   and even more so ,in 2020, that we have serious human rights violation problems similar to the countries we have enjoyed pointing fingers at just because they don’t share American and otherwise western governance styles.

The reason why so many   African, Middle Eastern , Latin and Central American, Caribbean ,and Southeast Asian countries are in such shambles is due to the billions of dollars Western countries , global finance  institutions, and world development measurement corporations have spent  since the 1960s, trying to force non-Western countries and regions into their governance style images as well in their styles of doing peacemaking.  African/ Asian  peace and justice models with emerging illustrations on both continents have the potential of moving beyond the free world/ non-free world artificially constructed global scheme as an emerging South way of making the evolving world much more developmentally empowering for every one no matter of the governance structure of the nation in which they reside.  This builds on the idea of BRICS but in a much more expansive way in including other African , Asian, and Latin American countries with indigenous and otherwise non-western financial backing rather than from western financial interests. 

African/ Asian justice and peace models would  discard the 20th century word ” international ” and replace it with “global.”The word international invokes a legal definition regarding  relations between sovereign states and their citizens thus ignoring  stateless peoples and those who simply live in more than one nation historically and especially in the 21st century.And the word international side steps and thus avoids discussion of  European descent colonial and anti-colonial imposition of boundaries and borders of the colonized in Africa/Diasporas and Asia/ Diasporas splitting up and causing perpetual regional problems among cultural groups belonging to the same populations but forced into different artificially designed sovereign  states  

We can sit here and think about the slicing up of original Rwanda by the Belgians and Germans giving some land and people to the Congo , Burundi , Tanzania, and Uganda.Or the British and French carving up of what became West Africa. Or what the British did in slicing up and off South Asia  and along with the French  Southeast Asia  and the American  dividing North  from South Korea and same with Vietnam. Lest we forget we have with us the now perpetual Israeli- Palestine conflict  a child of one of the first actions of the Western Super Power dominated U N. Security Council.

Therefore ,the word global would be preferred rather than international in any African/ Asian justice and peace model.   It discards a reminder of the crumbling White Supremacy order . The  word global  injects needed complexities, paradoxes, and contradictions in understanding how we all live our lives with or without borders and boundaries.It also conjures up impartiality in  letting us all tell our stories of where we are from and how we arrived involuntarily and voluntarily and where we are presently, where in the future we may be going.

My final point is how African/Asian justice and peace modeling would best be grounded in holistic restorative justice processes. Restorative justice as a transparency driven  mutual accountability engagement justice and peacemaking process  involving both perpetrators  and victims is an ancient tradition found within numerous indigenous non-European descendant cultures around the world.   

In three ways, restorative justice was popularized and began to move into  Eurocentric transitional justice policy making mainstream practice through South African   Bishop Desmond TuTu’s early 1990s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

First , through the  design and utilization of Truth and Reconciliation models in post- conflict nations and regions.

Second, through all levels of government and civil societies and local communities stressing one or more steps in what is supposed to be , as I have extensively written about elsewhere,a comprehensive holistic such as historical memory, confession, apology ( repentance) , forgiveness, reparations, reconciliation, or unity. 

Third, usually as seen utilized in American criminal justice systems, victim rights are the usual focus in the first two perspectives or as  stand alone perspectives.

The usual  fragmentation of restorative justice processes gravely limits if not  destroys capacity to be authentic transformation experiences embedded  in the transparency rights and responsibilities of perpetrators and victims. Such engagement  processes when fragmented become at best symbolic political  gestures well meaning or not rather than leading to the restoration of the humanity of both perpetrating and victimized populations and thus of entire societies and their institutions and communities.

Major  fragmented and ineffectual restorative justice practices examples would be government or civil society such as faith communities and universities apologies or reparations ( monetary or structural access and upward mobility) to historical victimized groups or deporting or jailing or executing perpetrators. Since these fragment policies are steps  in holistic restorative justice torn out of contextual sequence appropriate engagement preparation and  for empathetic awareness  for perpetrator and victim perspectives does not occur.

This breeds resentment and conflict rather than mutual empathy essential for unity to occur.It is  why, for instance, affirmative action policies for lower castes in India

 for historical racially oppressed populations in Brazil, Great Britain, South Africa,  and United States ,and for former racialized dominant populations as in Rwanda have mixed to negative images , dynamics, and outcomes. They are state or civil society or corporate  sponsored reparations policies without the previous steps to generate mutual transparency and empathetic awareness in both historical perpetrator and victim populations.

African/Asian justice and peace making models will be embedded in holistic restorative justice steps I call multicultural restorative justice. Though costly, labor intensive, and emotionally grueling, multicultural holistic restorative justice engagement processes create sustaining unity as the final outcome centered in life long intercultural opening values and identities of former perpetrator and victim populations.  Real justice and real peace rather than cosmetic justice and cosmetic peace is what the world around us so sorely needs and can achieve through African/ Asian multicultural restorative justice models which authentically create and sustain justice and peace.

We are moving on this Africa/ Asia justice and peace initiative now  now .We are  seeking global partners on both continents and elsewhere to join us committed to our vision of a future authentic  all inclusive developmental empowerment approach to post-White Supremacy justice and peace. That is those who understand globalization is not ending; it is changing demographic and geopolitical hands which must  endeavor to work for holistic multicultural restorative justice and peace for all not a few of us. This is especially the case given the fact we may be facing soon  post US Trump and post UK Johnson and post European Union as well as post South Africa Ramaphosa  worlds in need of assistance from our  global African/ Asian multicultural restorative justice venue to turn to for unprecedented authentic efforts to build sustaining multicultural democracies rather than solely cosmetic ones being aggressively exposed and challenged with need for best practices knowledge our global venue will be in the position to offer.Yes, as an anomaly  in the crumbling White Supremacy  global affairs paradigm thus not seen or acknowledged if seen by its iconic pundits,the South and the East assisting the North and West in their multicultural restorative justice developmental empowerment is a probability which  perchance will become the leading global affairs  master narrative of the next decade or two.

Director ASARPI: The Institute for Advanced Study of African Renaissance Policies Ideas Mauritius and South Africa former University of Mauritius SSR Chair of African Studies

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China Signs Agreement to Build ECOWAS Headquarters

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a $31.6 million grant from the Government of China for the construction of a new headquarters for the regional body in Abuja.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, and the Ambassador of China to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Zhou Pingjian, signed for both parties at a bilateral meeting held at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters, Abuja, according to media reports.

Brou expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for the grant saying it was a mark of goodwill from the Asian country to ECOWAS. The project is expected to cost $31.6 million. The new headquarters is expected to be completed in 26 months, and will enhance productivity among staff and reduce operational costs as the ECOWAS Commission currently operates from three locations in Abuja.

The building’s facilities include offices and conference complex building, as well as roads, electrical equipment, parking lots and security posts within the proposed site of the project.

The Chinese built the African Union (AU) headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, at a cost of $200 million in 2012 and dubbed the marble and glass edifice a gift to the people of Africa. It is currently completing the building for the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

At least three West African leaders including Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and his counterparts from Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone, as well as President of the ECOWAS Commission Omar Alieu Touray and Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria Cui Jianchun, performed the groundbreaking ceremony to formally commence the construction of the new headquarters.

In his opening address, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray thanked the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for providing the plot covering an area of seven hectares along the Airport Road in Abuja for the building project and the Chinese government who provided technical and financial support for the construction of the headquarters. 

Cui Jianchun, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS, said China is keen on expanding diplomatic relations with Africa through support for construction projects like the new ECOWAS Commission headquarters. He highlighted that these buildings demonstrate China’s sincere determination to support the unity, peace and development of the African region along her efforts to promote and support Africa’s infrastructure development programme.

In his remarks, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, highlighted that the project represents China’s commitment to West Africa’s sub-regional bloc and evidence of a strong and cooperation between Africa and China. He added that the new headquarters is a symbol of the unity and brotherhood of ECOWAS member states and signifies a re-commitment to regional integration and development of the countries in the sub-region. He thanked the Chinese government for their technical and financial support for the building.

Umaro Sissoco Embaló, the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau, thanked the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for their contribution towards the realization of the building complex. He said the new and modern headquarters will enable the staff of the ECOWAS Commission perform their duties better and provide a suitable working environment.

The new ECOWAS headquarters will house the ECOWAS Commission, Community Court of Justice and the ECOWAS Parliament all headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria.

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U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Matters Arising and Way Forward

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On the eve of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit planned for December 13-15 in Washington, the Corporate Council in partnership with the African Union and the U.S. State Department hosted discussions which was a combination of online and offline with a number of experts from the United States and Africa.

Katherine Tai, the 19th United States Trade Representative and Secretary-General Wene from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Ambassador Rama Yade, Senior Director of the Africa Center. Taking part was the Dean of the African diplomatic corps in the United States.

This discussion came on the eve of the US-Africa Leaders Summit (ALS), which will advance US-African collaboration on today’s most pressing global and regional priorities. The ALS will reflect the breadth and depth of US partnerships with African governments, businesses, civil society, and citizens-partnerships based on dialogue, respect, and shared values that harness the ingenuity and creativity of American and African people.

There were various themes during the discussion against the difficult geopolitical backdrop of high global economic imbalances slowing direct investment into the continent as well as accelerating shifts in the job market. 

Worth noting that the United States – Africa Leaders’ Summit will be hosted by President Joe Biden, and it primarily serves as a demonstration and commitment towards the African continent and further provides the platform for new joint initiatives between the United States and countries in Africa.

The discussion reviewed, somehow the current relations as well as possible new initiatives to boost the continent’s recovery from coronavirus pandemic, how to effectively bolster food security and to promote investment in various critical sectors including infrastructure, health and renewable energy, among other priorities.

On the other hand, the discussion also focused on strengthening the African diaspora communities and engage them in advancing a two-way trade and investment partnership, scale up innovation and entrepreneurship, and drive advancements in key sectors. 

The United States together with the African diaspora have a very unique opportunity to make sure to change the narrative of trade and focus on inclusive rather than only on market access. Supporting women and youth in  identifying opportunities, challenges and also barriers that confront them.

Questions such as what are the challenges that we can confront together and what are the solutions that we can present to heads of states and government to begin to change the last 60 years or so of exclusion of young people people for mainstream economic activity excluding – exclusion of small medium enterprises from mainstream economic activity to make them partners in the implementation.

The United States understands that African Union and African leaders are looking at regional linkages very strategically and then always around inclusivity. How and what to do better with economic engagement inside and outside, to bring everyone along and not to leave people behind.

The United States already plans to take concrete action to benefit young people including women, to benefit small medium enterprises, small cum medium enterprises in Africa, creating over 450 million jobs. And the bulk of that 450 million jobs are young Africans. 

The Corporate Council on Africa significantly undertakes the tremendous support and even galvanize U.S. leadership and engagement in partnership with allies and with partners to shape solutions to global challenges Africa. Its people have a critical role to play in achieving such solutions, Ambassador Tai noted in her discussion.

Nearly the discussants agreed all that will require a combination of private sector activities and governmental actions and one key governmental framework for Africa is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The free trade area promises deepening economic integration. It creates a single market for goods and services for almost 1.3 billion people across Africa. In fact, the 50 for African Union members have signed the agreement, 42 members have ratified it and 39 have deposited their instruments of ratification.

The Secretary General of the the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) during the summit will be able to discuss the way forward. The United States intends to fully engage with Africa as the recent Africa strategy says in a 21st century U.S.-Africa partnership and one aspect of that Africa is a friend shoring, which is to say working with reliable partners. It is noted to work within the framework that provides integration between West Africa and East Africa, between North Africa and Southern Africa.

Within the framework of the African Union agenda, the new generation who wants to build on geopolitical partnership dimension in the regional economic communities and with African countries. The point is that there are symmetries, obviously, between the economy and industrial development trajectory, and between developing and developed countries.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act offers rules and regulations relating to trade agreements, especially tariff liberalization, this is an important aspect for building sustainable economic cooperation between the two regions.

The United States and its partnering institutions (both public and private) can best work together to spearhead continuous complementary work as it relates to both business security for participating actors and investors and including for example, the global African diaspora and beyond industry for things like creative and cultural industries. 

The speakers unanimously confirmed the summit as the highest unique platform to determine the geo-economic centers, examine thoroughly the global priorities and challenges, and concretely design the main directions of U.S.-Africa cooperation. It offers, especially this critical times, an orientation towards the future, at least the next decade, between the African continent and the United States.

U.S.-African Leaders Summit 2022, aims at enhancing cooperation on shared global priorities. The heads of state and leaders from across the African continent will converge in Washington D.C., within the context of the United States-Africa Leaders’ Summit hosted by President Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States of America. 

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The Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora Announces AU20 Writing Project Winners

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The African Union (AU) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD) hosted a residency programme under the AU20 project for established writers from across Africa to produce a piece of work that celebrates the unity and potential of the African continent.

This year, the African Union celebrates its 20th anniversary since the organization’s establishment at the Durban Summit of July 2002. Dubbed AU20, the celebrations have taken place under the theme “Our Africa, Our Future” and focuses on the AU’s initiatives, successes, impact, challenges and the way forward. 

The writers residency took the form of a hybrid programme, with two online meetings in October/November and a two-week physical residency at the Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD) in Accra, Ghana from November 14 – 28.

Catering to the theme “Our Africa, Our Future”, five writers from the continent were tasked to interpret the theme in a broad and expansive way across a selected genre, including fiction, narrative non-fiction and poetry. The piece is pegged between 5,000 and 7,000 words (or five poems for poets) on the theme “Our Africa, Our Future” for the e-book. The final work will be published in an e-book anthology to be released in early 2023.

The AU20 project aims to elevate the profile of the AU in the minds of Africans, particularly the creative community, and better connect the AU to African citizens. Powered by Africa No Filter, the writers residency is a unique contribution towards bringing the African Union closer to the African people by selecting creative professionals who think outside the box, dare to challenge conventions and offer new and original work through their chosen materials, techniques and subject matters.

The Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD) together with the African Union, the UNDP and Africa No Filter have now announced the final winners of the AU20 writing project. Here are the five winners and bit of their professional backgrounds.

i) Nour Kamel from the Arab Republic of Egypt. Nour writes about identity, language, sexuality, queerness, gender, oppression, femininity, trauma, family, lineage, globalization, loss and food. She is the author of the chapbook “Noon” in New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Sita).

ii) TJ Benson from the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His writing explores the body in the context of memory, migration, utopia and the unconscious self and his works have been exhibited, published in several journals, and shortlisted for awards. The author of three novels, his latest, People Live Here, is out now.

iii) Musih Tedji Xaviere from the Republic of Cameroon. She is a writer, activist, and Moth Storyteller. Her debut novel, These Letters End in Tears, won the 2021 Pontas and JJ Bola Emerging Writer’s Prize. It will be published in the US and UK in 2024 by Catapult and Jacaranda Books.

iv) Tony Mochama from the Republic of Kenya. He is a poet, author and senior journalist at The Nation Media Group. He is a three-time winner of the Burt Awards for African Young Adult Literature and is a recipient of the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. His futuristic novel, 2063 – Last Mile Bet, was published by Oxford University Press.

v) Sue Nyathi from the Republic of South Africa. She is the author of four novels, her latest, An Angel’s Demise, published in October by Pan Macmillan. A Zimbabwean based in South Africa, she was shortlisted for the 2020 Dublin Literary Award and is a JIAS Fellow ’22.

According to reports, The Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD) received an overwhelming number of applications from across the continent, and the selected writers represent the best of African literary talent as well as the literary future. 

Started in a one-room office, the library attracted significant national and international attention and quickly outgrew itself. In 2020, it re-branded as the Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora and moved to a bigger space that includes a special collections/archive room, a screening room and extensive outdoor event space.

As a complete African library, it has also an archive, a museum, a writing residency and a research facility. It is dedicated to the collection and visualization of authors from Africa and the African diaspora from the late 19th century to the present. 

The library has over 4000 volumes of literary fiction and narrative nonfiction dating from the early 20th century to the present day. From Algeria to Kenya and from Liberia to Zimbabwe, the collections represent the rich diversity of the African continent and its vast Diaspora. 

LOATAD’s focus is on books by writers of African descent including African, African American, Caribbean, Black European, Afro-Latin, and Indigenous writers. The Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD) is located in Accra, Ghana. 

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