DASSU STEPHEN, 26th October 2009 @ 12:34, Daily News There are 168.8 million Africans in the Diaspora, JK: Help Africans out of poverty AFRICANS in the Diaspora should help governments on the continent in the on-going efforts to lift millions of people out of poverty, President Jakaya Kikwete appealed in Dar es Salaam today. "The majority of the people here in Africa are still facing abject poverty and other manifestations of underdevelopment. It is therefore imperative for Africans in the Diaspora to use their expertise and resources, to assist in various development projects," he said. In a speech at the opening of the fifth International African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference, the president added that: "Let us use our resources to help our brothers and sisters in fighting poverty and other vicissitudes of life." The African Diaspora, according to the African Union (AU), consists of peoples of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality, willing to contribute to development of the continent. Africans in the Diaspora are estimated to be 168.8 million. About 112.6 million are in South America, mainly in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, 39.2 million in North America (United States and Canada), 13.5 million in the Caribbean and 3.5 million in Europe. In its 2008 report, the World Bank said sub-Saharan Africa received $20 billion in remittances from Africans in the Diaspora, while the African Development Bank (AfDB) said in its report that the continent, including North Africa, received $32 billion during that year. Meanwhile, President Kikwete has expressed concern over persistent trend by the Western media to paint a negative image about Africa. "I have wondered why Africa is always projected as a scene of misery, conflicts and disease like HIV/AIDS. But you and I know that there are a lot of good things that need to be told about this continent," he remarked. He said there was need to tell the story about Africa by documenting, publicizing and promoting cultural heritage and tourist attractions available on the continent. The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ms Shamsa Mwangunga, expressed optimism on the Diaspora conference, saying it was a forum to discuss and explore on best ways of promoting African culture and assets. "We hope that the conference will attract rich contributions and enhance our cultural heritage for the benefit of both the Diaspora and the African people," she said. The Executive Director of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference, Dr Gaynelle Henderson-Bailey, reaffirmed the need to strengthen unity and solidarity between the Diaspora and the African people. "We have come here to research and document our history and incorporate that history into historical tourism," she said. The five day conference has attracted over 200 delegates from 22 African, Caribbean, North America and Middle Eastern countries. The African Diaspora Heritage Trail is a private, non-profit and transnational heritage tourism initiative, designed to benefit the countries of African Diaspora, by providing accessible expertise and technical assistance in the development of heritage tourism programmes.