Mfon Ufot


Whenever African immigrants gather, most assuredly the conversation of their plight to the United States, will be a heated topic. Most of the discussion laments the apparent apathy in the African community and the lack of collective leadership to mobilize it. According to the 1990 census, there are over 350,000 African in the United States and that number is increasing every year. The State Department's Information on Immigration reports about 20,000 Africans won the "immigration lottery" to emigrate to the United States last year. This year, about 20,000 slots are allotted to the African continent. This program is a part of the diversity immigrant visas given to countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Nevertheless, all 20,000 of the lottery winners may not be able to emigrate to the United States because of stringent requirements by the State Department. It is therefore timely and important to examine the leadership development in the evolving and ever-changing African immigrant community already living here, as citizens of the United States.

Community leadership infers the ability to have a vision, interpret that vision, and carry it to fruition. Surely, there are outstanding and successful individuals, organizations, and even businesses in the African immigrant community, which although confronted with serious obstacles, have managed to build strong coalitions that address issues affecting most African-born groups in the U.S. Through personal leadership African-born groups have combined individual efforts to mobilize their community or groups to achieve given goals. Unfortunately, there are also many obstacles to overcome in order to achieve those goals.


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