Report Examines Ways in Which Destination Countries Can Engage Their Diasporas as Development Partners
WASHINGTON — While the significant role that diasporas play in contributing to development in their countries of origin or ancestry is now a well-accepted part of migration and development analysis, less attention has gone to ways in which destination countries are supporting—or could support—diaspora engagement.
Research and policy proposals on diaspora contributions, ranging from financial remittances and knowledge exchange to business formation, have focused almost entirely on the policies of countries of origin. Few Western countries of destination that have substantial official development assistance programs are investing in sizeable “diaspora for development” projects over the long term, although there are important exceptions.
A Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report out today explores the diaspora engagement actions and policies of Western donor governments—including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States—highlighting distinctive features.
The report, Destination-Country Policies to Foster Diaspora Engagement in Development, considers a variety of modes of engagement, such as assistance with forming or strengthening diaspora organizations, grants for diaspora-led development projects, consultations, skills circulation initiatives and support for entrepreneurship.
The report, by MPI Co-Founder and Senior Fellow Kathleen Newland, also examines why more destination countries have not consistently operated diaspora-for-development programs and offers lessons about effectiveness and sustainability. Diaspora engagements often fade for a number of reasons, including unrealistic expectations, risk aversion and challenges in identifying and engaging with diaspora partners.
“Long-term commitment and patience in awaiting positive outcomes—and toleration of some failures—are needed to realize the comparative advantages that diasporas may bring to meeting the challenges of development in their countries of origin or ancestry,” Newland writes. “Persistent efforts to build strong partnerships can have big development payoffs.”
Read the report here: www.migrationpolicy.org/research/destination-country-diaspora-development.
For all MPI analysis, data and commentary on migration and development topics, including diaspora engagement, visit: www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/migrants-migration-and-development.
And to sign up for updates on future work on migration and development, click here.