Project News

New study on the contribution of the diaspora to the socio-economic development in the Western Balkans

15 May 2023

Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Serbia, Switzerland, North Macedonia

In order to better understand, and thereby, enhance the Western Balkans diasporas’ contribution to socioeconomic development in their respective countries of origin, the study identified and analysed existing diaspora engagement frameworks in the research countries. 

With support from the European Commission, ICMPD conducted the Study on the Diasporas’ Contributions to the Socio-Economic Development in the Western Balkans (ECONDIAS) with the aim of enhancing the Western Balkan diasporas’ contribution to socioeconomic development in their countries of origin, with a focus on business diaspora and entrepreneurship in order to increase the transfer of knowledge/skills and investments.

To understand the relationship between the Western Balkan diaspora members and their countries of origin, a “corridor approach” was employed by considering a corresponding country of settlement in the European settlement country outside the Western Balkan region. The following corridors were studied as part of ECONDIAS:

Country of settlement

Country/location of origin


Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia


Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo[1]Montenegro, Serbia


Albania, North Macedonia


Albania, Serbia


Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo[1], North Macedonia


It also identified relevant and promising practices of economic diaspora engagement, obstacles to meaningful engagement, lessons learned, and needs and potentials of relevant stakeholders as a base for follow-up policy and programmatic recommendations to the European Commission and the national public authorities.

ECONDIAS mapped 330 practices and initiatives across the six Western Balkan countries, 27 EU countries and Switzerland. In addition, the study is based on a total of 160 semi-structured interviews conducted with policy-makers, stakeholders and entrepreneurs across the 11 research countries and in the European Commission.

This report synthesises the overall findings of the ECONDIAS project and takes stock of the country-specific, and EU-level policy and institutional landscape on migration-development nexus, and identifies relevant stakeholders and practices to draw context-specific lessons on success and impeding factors for diaspora-led investment in countries of origin.

*[1] All references to Kosovo in this document are without prejudice to positions on status, and are in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.