Faced with dwindling cash reserves and staggering under the weight of a $40m debt inherited from their predecessor, the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU), the African Union (AU) came up with a novel idea to fill their coffers and pare down their debt - offer dual citizenship and economic and social benefits to any Africans in the Diaspora (ADs) willing to contribute to a fund to support the AU. The idea was presented and agreed upon at a two-day summit (February ’03) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The plan also included wooing ADs who were highly proficient in technology and education to assist in moving Africa forward into full economic health. In a speech to other AU officials, Professor Jimmy Adisa said: "Rather than concentrating on issues like reparations for the slave trade, members of the African diaspora should turn the painful experience to Africa's advantage. Our people are there, and they could be our ambassadors - this is our chance to move forward. We want to transform our tragedy into a source of strength. So far we have been crying over the disadvantages and not looking to the advantages. Finance is a part of the problem. If we are going to mobilise, then we have a resource base outside the continent which is the Africans in the diaspora. Imagine what the AU would look like if they (African-Americans) gave five dollars each. Fringe benefits like free visas and business opportunities that are normally restricted to nationals could be used to encourage members of the diaspora into playing a role. They are our constituency, and we believe they should be involved. The international community is sceptical about the role of the AU, and the African diaspora can help overcome this. We want to use them to explain our position, to use them as a communications piece.” (Source: Quote - African Press Association (SAPA) Archives – 2-11-03) Do you agree or disagree with Professor Adisa?