Remittances and the Power of the Diaspora

by Developed Africa 4. July 2013 09:00

The African diaspora is slowly becoming a major topic in international development as a recent piece on the World Bank blog shows. This article highlights the financial heft of the diaspora and how these finances could be better managed and invested to benefit the continent,

Remittances are the money that migrants send back to their home countries to sustain their families. In the case of Africa it is estimated that 120 million people benefited from the US$60 billion sent home by 30 million migrants in 2012. While most of these flows are used for consumption, they could have a greater development impact if a larger portion was saved in banks by recipients and channeled into productive investment such as microenterprise activities.

This link between remittances and financial inclusion was the main topic discussed in a Forum organized by the World Bank in Brussels on May 16th, bringing together representatives of francophone African countries and Diaspora communities with several development partners such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the African Union Commission (AUC), who with European Commission (EC) funding and World Bank implementation, are collaborating to address this issue with concrete action.

In effect, the occasion served to sensitize the audience to the creation of the African Institute for Remittances (AIR) as a specialized Institute at the AUC, whose broad objective is precisely to leverage remittances for social and economic development. As an African-led initiative, AIR aims to help countries manage remittance flows by providing them with technical assistance, capacity-building and research, as well as engaging in advocacy with the public and private sectors. With four African countries offering to host the Institute, the project is currently awaiting a decision by AU Member States on its location."

[Read the whole article here]

If you interested in finding out more about diaspora based development schemes, check out Project Diaspora (temporarily offline while they redevelop their website), the Africa-Europe Diaspora Platform or the World Bank's own African Diaspora Program.

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Categories: Diaspora | Remittances

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