African Diaspora Key to the Continent’s Development

Jun 16, 2015

Partnering for Long-Term Trade, Investment and Skills for Workforce Development in Africa

WASHINGTON DC, June 12, 2015 - The potential wealth and talent existing in the African diaspora is enormous. According to a World Bank report, researchers estimate that US $30 billion are saved on an annual basis by the African diaspora. Additionally, it is estimated that by 2040, Africa will have a larger workforce than China and India, requiring targeted enterprise growth in areas that can enhance food supply, healthcare services and education solutions including Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In order to engage and incentivize entrepreneurs and investors in the African Diaspora, the World Bank held a Forum on June 10th in Washington on "Engaging the African Diaspora" under the theme "Partnering for Long-Term Trade, Investment and Skills for Workforce Development in Africa" in partnership with the African Development Bank and Making Finance Work for Africa. Over 100 representatives including early stage investors, entrepreneurs, donors, development partners and private sector organisations attended the event to discuss opportunities for collaboration and discover potential synergies. During the Forum, participants identified some critical areas for diaspora engagement, including in financial investment as seed funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), skills development (through mentorship, possibly apprenticeships and skills matching), and building a diaspora information platform. Among other initiatives, initial findings of the African Diaspora Trade and Investment Survey was presented, which highlighted the activities in which the diaspora is involved. The aim of the survey is to provide African policy makers with insights on ways to attract their diaspora populations to promote trade and investments. Making Finance Work for Africa is exploring multiple approaches for working with the African diaspora, including through:
  • Supporting the World Bank's Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice and the African Development Bank with the African Diaspora Trade and Investment Survey analysis;
  • Partnering with development partners and private sector to develop a systematic assessment method for informing effective programming at the national level and between donors; and
  • Partnering with universities, and centres of excellence on capacity development efforts to increase trade and gender neutral skills development.