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Project News: ICMPD and the AIR co-organised the 3rd AIR Diaspora Engagement Forum

10 May 2019

From 2-3 May 2019, ICMPD and the African Institute for Remittances (AIR) teamed up to organise the 3rd edition of the AIR Diaspora Engagement Forum 2019 in The Hague. The Forum was organised in the framework of the Support Programme to Africa-EU Migration and Mobility Dialogue (MMD).

The Forum gathered 77 participants representing various African diaspora organisations and experts who took the opportunity to reflect and exchange on the need to develop and increase investment for social and economic development in their countries of origin.

This year’s theme “Creating an Enabling Environment for Upscaling the Potential Impact of Remittances: A Multi-Stakeholder Approach” was approached by 25 speakers through five panels of discussion covering topics,  such as institutionalisation of diaspora initiatives, leveraging remittances for financial inclusion, collective investments and frugal innovations, protecting diaspora investments, and what can work for Africa.

ICMPD’s contribution to the Forum consisted in providing technical expertise on the design of the Forum, as well as participating to the panel sessions. Monica Zanette, MMD Senior Coordinator and Oleg Chirita, Head of Global Initiatives Programme touched upon the importance of engaging diaspora and the significant role ICMPD plays in it. On the occasion of the Forum, ICMPD presented the soon to be launched the EU Global Diaspora Facility, which aims at increasing the efficiency of the engagement and collaboration between governments of countries of origin, diaspora organisations and the EU.

During the discussions, the participants highlighted the need to connect local innovations with diaspora investments through collective and cluster investment approaches. Government, regional and international organisations would need to facilitate this process by formalising and consolidating these initiatives.

Among the main recommendations of the Forum the participants emphasised the need for capacity building of both senders and recipients on financial services that increase financial inclusion, notably the existing e-money initiative, as well as the fact that remittances need to be linked to development.

Diasporas and business agents need to adjust to the existing knowledge on frugal innovations. Also, diaspora are encouraged to make risk assessment before implementation of their investments in the origin countries, and where possible involve experts in the field of investments to do so. At the same time, Diaspora are encouraged to invest in regulated investment funds in countries of origin. Furthermore, there is a need for education and awareness of all stakeholders in fostering diaspora investments via public private partnerships. Finally, in order to tap into their investments’ potential, there is a need to know diaspora better and to understand their needs and interests. 

The MMD Support Project will further support AIR in implementing all recommendations resulted from the discussions at the Forum.