Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What We Know About Diasporas and Economic Development

Diasporas can play an important role in the economic development of their countries of origin or ancestry. Beyond their well-known role as senders of remittances, diasporas also can promote trade and foreign direct investment, create businesses, spur entrepreneurship, and transfer new knowledge and skills. Policymakers increasingly recognize that an engaged diaspora can be an asset — or even a counterweight to the emigration of skilled and talented migrants.

In What We Know About Diasporas and Economic Development, authors Kathleen Newland and Sonia Plaza note that while some governments have worked with diaspora members on discrete projects, relatively few have succeeded in proactively engaging their diasporas to find areas of mutual interest for practical collaboration. The brief discusses the impact of diaspora engagement in a number of areas, including trade, investment, and skills and knowledge transfers.  While it is difficult to assess the impact of diaspora engagement, the authors say it is clear that governments can do more to remove obstacles and create opportunities for diasporas to engage in economic development — with engagement best if it is a two-way street.

This policy brief is the latest in a series being published by the Migration Policy Institute in advance of the UN General Assembly’s High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, which will take place Oct. 3 – 4. The briefs seek to distill what is known about key facets of the linkages between migration and development. Read the briefs and other MPI research on migration and development here.

Last week we held an interesting telebriefing to discuss what debates and outcomes might take place at the upcoming High-Level Dialogue. Speakers included Eva Åkerman Börje, chair of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). We invite you to listen to the podcast here.

KJ

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