The value of Expatriates
On 22 and 26 March 2015 the South African High Commission in Canberra jointly with Brand South Africa held round-table dialogues with South African expatriates living in Sydney and Melbourne. The events were held in an effort to mobilize the potential of the African diaspora to help spur the growth and development of their ancestral homeland, South Africa. In his remarks during the Sydney event, His Excellency Mr Sbu Ndebele said, “there is no such a thing as an ex-South African. Expatriates are exceptional people and are crucial to our success story because their return represents, amongst other things, the repatriation of global networks and skills transfer”.
Australia is home to majority of South African expatriates after the United Kingdom. Most of the expatriates are economically active and influential in various sectors including financial services, information technology, education both primary and tertiary levels, health, business, mining, arts and so forth. These, according the Declaration of the Global African Diaspora Summit held in Johannesburg in 2012, are areas which expatriates can and should contribute to growth and development back home in the continent and to South Africa in particular. The South African High Commission in Canberra is spurring neither strength nor courage to build viable networks in Australia to galvanize South Africans into action to play their part in moving South Africa forward.
Ray Sithole, Counsellor, South African High Commission, Canberra, Australia