Editor’s note: part of DH’s mission is to model for Haitians and Haitian-Americans, the best efforts/practices of diasporas worldwide. Introducing the first in what will be a regular series:
TMS (Teddy) Ruge is on a mission to mobilize the African diaspora to invest in Africa. That’s not a hard sell these days, considering some countries’ annual growth rate hovers around 10 percent. After living in Kenya and then the United States for 18 years, Ruge now spends half his time assisting indigenous farmers and women refugees in his native Uganda. He spoke with DH via Skype one Sunday afternoon about his entrepreneurial venture, Project Diaspora, partnering with the Ugandan government and his diaspora-led vision for Africa.
DH: What are you up to in Uganda?
A: At the moment I’m managing two pilot projects—one deals with helping 19 refugee women in Kireka get their products to market, the other, we’re organizing 1,500 farmers to produce agroceuticals. Hopefully the pilots will teach us a few lessons about the in’s and out’s of community and economic development from a social entrepreneurship angle. And … within a few years, we can show the results of what can happen by thinking broadly … instead of simply relying on remittances to your family.