Road map for engaging diasporas

Developing a road map for engaging diasporas in development.

The handbook is divided into three major parts. Each part gives
concrete examples of policies and programs that have been effective, and
pulls out both useful lessons and common challenges associated with the
topics at hand.

Part One, in three chapters, outlines a strategy for diaspora
engagement, beginning with an adaptable “road map” that lays out four
major strategic elements: identifying the goals of diaspora engagement,
mapping the location and characteristics of the diaspora, building trust
between diasporas and government institutions, and mobilizing the
diaspora to act as partners in the development of the country of origin.
Chapter 2 focuses on capacity building, an essential component
in every element of engagement strategy. The ability to design policies
and implement programs effectively is fundamental to successful
diaspora relations. For most governments, the two major problems in
capacity building are inadequate funding and lack of technical know-how.
Overcoming these challenges calls for innovation, whether expressed
through the creation of new structures or the use of existing structures
for new purposes relating to the diaspora. Creative partnerships between
governments and the private sector, civil society organizations, other
governments, and international organizations can also be effective in
augmenting the capacity of government institutions. Good communication
Developing a Road Map for Engaging Diasporas in Development
A Handbook for Policymakers and Practitioners in Home and Host Countries
with the diaspora, through such means as regular consultations or formal
diaspora councils, also contributes to building the knowledge and technical
skills of government institutions.
Chapter 3 highlights the importance of rigorous monitoring and
evaluation of policies and programs. Resources are often concentrated
at the front end of programs, while neglecting the feedback loops that
allow governments to understand whether resources are being used as
directed and programs are working as intended. Evaluations are essential
to determine whether adjustments are needed to keep policies on track.
Baseline data should be collected at the start of a project to make beforeand-after comparisons possible. State-of-the-art evaluations are costly;
aid donors can help a partner government to build a culture of evaluation,
and to select an appropriate mix of qualitative and quantitative measures
of effectiveness.

Part Two of the handbook looks at the legal and institutional
frameworks that governments have established to facilitate diaspora
engagement. Chapter 4 describes and assesses the institutions that
governments use to interact with diaspora populations. The survey
administered to gather information for the handbook identified more
than 400 governmental institutions in 56 countries that directly engage
diasporas through their programs; 77 of them were created specifically
to deal with diasporas on a formal basis. These institutions exist at
various levels of government, from independent ministries to suboffices
within other departments. Many are associated with other government
portfolios, such as foreign relations, regional integration, trade, or labor.
Over one-third of those surveyed have been established since 2005. Their
purposes and effectiveness also vary widely.
Chapter 5 examines the legislative and regulatory frameworks
through which diasporas interact with their countries of origin. Six
mechanisms that encourage diaspora engagement are presented:
Flexible laws governing citizenship, residency, and visa access; political
rights; property rights, tax incentives for investment; portable pension,
insurance, and health care benefits; and formal recognition of diasporas
as part of the nation and integral to national development.

The six chapters of Part Three each examine a key programmatic
area in which diasporas have played positive roles in development of
the country of origin: remittances, direct investment, human capital
transfer, philanthropy, capital market investment, and tourism. These
chapters identify “menus” of policy options and extract lessons from the
Developing a Road Map for Engaging Diasporas in Development
A Handbook for Policymakers and Practitioners in Home and Host Countries
experiences governments identified as relevant in their survey responses.
The chapters also spotlight the challenges that policymakers have faced
and continue to face as thinking and practice in these six areas continue
to evolve.
Chapter 6 points to two trends in remittance policy: a focus on
strengthening the financial infrastructure that supports remittance
transfer, and a renewed and more sophisticated emphasis on increasing
the productivity of remittance flows through mechanisms such as
securitization and links between remittances and related financial
products. Transparency and competition in remittance markets have
helped to bring down transfer costs in many corridors, but others remain
expensive and offer limited options.
Direct investment by diaspora entrepreneurs and venture capitalists
in their countries of origin strengthens prospects for economic growth by
fostering the formation and growth of businesses, supporting innovation
and developing new sectors of the economy. Chapter 7 points to the
importance of access to information, networks, training, financial capital,
and public infrastructure as issues of public policy. If supported by policies
that create an atmosphere conducive to entrepreneurship, collaboration
between diaspora investors and local business owners can provide a
powerful stimulus to development.
Chapter 8 explores new policy directions relating to the transfer of
human capital through diaspora connections. Members of the diaspora
can help to fill gaps in expertise and skills that handicap developing
countries in the knowledge economy. In recent years, governments and
international organizations have turned away from “return of talent”
programs premised on permanent return of diaspora members and
toward policies to encourage circulation of highly skilled people between
their countries of origin and destinations. Maintaining connections
across borders through informal networks or organized programs allows
countries of origin to expand their access to scientific and technical skills
that might otherwise be lost to them through emigration. A delicate
balance of incentives is required, however, to ensure that local talent
gains from exposure to diaspora networks rather than feeling displaced
by them.
The role of private philanthropy in development is expanding, and
diasporas are sources of social investment ranging from major contributions
by wealthy individuals to the collective donations of middle-income and
even relatively poor migrants. Chapter 9 points out that governments
Developing a Road Map for Engaging Diasporas in Development
A Handbook for Policymakers and Practitioners in Home and Host Countries
have taken three broad approaches to encouraging philanthropic
contributions from the diaspora: courting individual philanthropists,
engaging philanthropic institutions established by diasporas, and
encouraging donors to pool their funds through intermediary platforms.
Several governments, both in countries of origin and countries of
destination, have established programs that match diaspora donations
with government funds.
Chapter 10 turns to a relatively neglected dimension of financial
flows from diasporas to countries of origin through capital market
investments — bank deposits, stocks and bonds, loans, asset-backed
securities, and derivatives. Diaspora investors may have valuable
resources of cultural and linguistic knowledge, local networks, long time
horizons, and different risk perceptions in comparison to other foreign
investors. This chapter examines four particular vehicles that governments
use to mobilize the wealth of diasporas: special deposit accounts for
nonresidents, transnational loans, government-issued “diaspora bonds,”
and securitization of future remittance flows.
Chapter 11 examines the role of diasporas in one of the main sources
of job creation and foreign exchange earnings in developing countries:
tourism. Diasporas can play a unique and important role in opening
international markets for new tourism destinations. Some governments
encourage tourism by promoting return visits from diaspora members.
Variations on this theme include promotion of medical tourism, business
tourism, and heritage (or “roots”) tourism.

Find out more:

Author: orenalwpusr
sales rep in the S.E

Leave a Reply