There are many Africans in the Diaspora who want to make a positive contribution, both to their current communities and to their families and communities in Africa. But they are often beset by many economic, social and leadership challenges.
Joyce Sarpong was one such member of the African Diaspora – passionate about Africa but dissatisfied that opportunities to make a positive impact were being missed. In May 2014 she participated in a Common Purpose programme for African Diaspora leaders:
“The Common Purpose programme placed me in a group of 29 African Diaspora leaders from various African countries and professional backgrounds. We created an environment that was innovative, inspiring, challenging and fun! I learnt a lot during the week about the richness and diversity of Africans in the Diaspora. It was in during that period, my group discussed the problem of costly remittances. People who make bank transfers back to African countries often face excessive charges that undermine the benefits of remittances. We developed the idea for a new Pan-African financial institution based in London that would serve the African Diaspora community.”
Joyce was inspired by her Common Purpose experience. More than one year on, she has used the leadership skills she developed to progress the idea and is now in a position to present the initial business plans and intentions to the UK financial regulators.
“The Pan-African Bank will serve as a tool and a vehicle for meeting the financial and socio-economic needs and aspirations of the African Diaspora community in the UK. It will allow them to use more effectively and fully their talents, skills, energy and other resources for their own personal/family development as well as that of the communities in which they live in the UK. It will also help them make a positive contribution to their wider families in Africa, and to Africa’s development, more generally.
"I am delighted I have been able focus my passion for Africa into an initiative that will hopefully make a real difference. It has been made possible by leadership skills we learnt on our Common Purpose programme and the platform it provided to innovate new ideas.”