MFW4A to launch a New Study on Supporting Diaspora Investments in Africa
Donors, development partners and African stakeholders attended a MFW4A Consultation Meeting to discuss the new study and issues around diaspora investment opportunities in AfricaMilan, June 19, 2015 - More than 400 policymakers, private sector stakeholders and civil society leaders gathered at the fifth Global Forum on Remittances and Development (GFRD), from June 16-19 in Milan, Italy, to pave the way for leveraging the development impact of remittances. During the forum, Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) and its Remittances Working Group (RWG) members organised a closed consultation meeting on "Supporting Diaspora Investments in Africa". The session was attended by African and international experts representing 15 organisations from government, donors and private sector, and provided an opportunity to discuss relevant issues around diaspora investment opportunities in Africa. Participants also discussed the main elements of the study proposal, "A Systematic Approach to Supporting Diaspora Investments". The study, to be launched by MFW4A, in collaboration with Developing Markets Associates (DMA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the World Bank, will aim to assess and make recommendations on how donors and governments can most effectively support productive diaspora investment into Africa as a means of financing long-term economic growth and development across the continent. Africa has one of the largest global diasporas and one that continues to make a significant contribution to the continent's economic development through the transfer of skills, socio-cultural influence and, not least, through the sending of remittances. The World Bank estimates that formal remittances flows to Sub-Saharan Africa alone will reach USD $334 billion in 2015. In light of the increased recognition of diaspora's productive role in development, donors have supported numerous initiatives using a variety of modalities in trying to harness diaspora capital. However, not all could be qualified as being successful in their outcome. There is a lack of understanding of how donor organisations can support more effectively these programs. MFW4A and its Remittances Working Group have recognised the importance of developing a systematic approach to understanding diaspora investments, its modalities, and informing effective programming at the national level or between donors. It is in this vein that the study proposal has been developed. Participants at the Consultation Meeting commended MFW4A for the launch of the initiative. They agreed on the main elements of the study but made a number of recommendations on its scope, approach and methodology.