African Diaspora Key to the Continent’s Development: World Bank
April 7, 2008 Editor 0
African Diaspora―defined as peoples of
African descent/origin living outside the continent―play an increasingly
important role in the continent’s development, both through the financial
resources they send back to their home countries and through their professional expertise. According to a 2005 World Bank report, remittances flows from the African Diaspora are in excess of $4-6 billion per year and a significant number of professionals from the continent are currently living outside of Africa.
In order to engage with these groups and support the African Union’s ongoing effort to work with the African Diaspora, the World Bank held an African Diaspora Open House today in Washington with over 200 representatives from groups based in the United States and Canada to discuss opportunities for closer collaboration.
Among other initiatives, the World Bank announced that it will collaborate with the African Union in exploring the possibilities for the development of a
Diaspora Remittances Investment Fund, which will be based on global experiences that exploit the benefits of and leverage remittances to finance Diaspora-led development activities, in a manner similar to existing mechanisms in Latin America.
The World Bank is also exploring multiple approaches for working with the
African Diaspora, including through:
- Engagement of the Diaspora—in collaboration with African member countries— in the design and implementation of the ongoing portfolio of World Bank-assisted projects, and in the planned pipeline of proposed new World Bank-assisted projects over the FY08 – FY10 period
- Partnerships with private sector organizations, notably multi-national corporations with strong business interests in Africa;
- Support for Diaspora to build on ongoing efforts through a blended strategyof “virtual” participation; short, medium and long term placements; return and retention; and institutional networks;
- Dialogue with donors to contribute to a proposed African Diaspora Engagement and Facilitation Fund to support program activities;
- Facilitation of policy-relevant networks on topical issues such as sub/regional integrated infrastructure, energy, transportation, and research on diverse topics;
- Support to African governments in creating the enabling policy andinstitutional environment to harness Diaspora potential; strengthening Africa’s response to globalization, among others.
“The World Bank is in a very strategic position to assist in the mobilization
of the African Diaspora in support of economic development on the ground in Africa” says Melvin P. Foote, President of the Constituency for Africa (CFA) a 16 year-old Washington, D.C. based network of organizations, groups and individuals committed to the progress and empowerment of Africa and African people worldwide. “Engaging the Diaspora in providing technical assistance in Africa may well create the necessary synergy to transform how development will be pursued on the continent in the future”.
More than a third of Africa’s highly qualified human resources are presently in the Diaspora. Studies show that the most educated Africans increasingly opt not to return to the continent and stay in their host country after completion of their studies. A survey of African PhD students in the U.S. and Canada in 1986-96 showed that about 44 per cent decided to stay. The impact of the non-return has been debilitating on Africa’s public and private sector, in some cases forcing countries to rely on high rates of international consultants to tackle development work. A partnership with the African Diaspora for the continent’s development is thus essential to enable Africa to increase its capacity to use and apply knowledge and increase its access to financial resources.
With support from African governments, the World Bank hopes to use its
engagement with the African Diaspora to strengthen the performance of its
extensive portfolio of investment and development policy loans in the region
(about US$22 billion) by better engaging the African Diaspora with government support, in the over US$6 billion of technical assistance which is financed by this portfolio.
I Dreamed of Africa divx
For more information about the work of the World Bank in Africa, visit:
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- Infographic: Creating jobs for generations by closing the youth employment gap
- Innovation in Africa
- Innovator-in-Chief: The Public Sector – Catalyst of Creativity
Tags: african descent, African Diaspora, african member countries, business interests, financial resources, global experiences, home countries, institutional networks, investment fund, latin america, national corporations, new world bank, open house, private sector organizations, professional expertise, remittances, term placements, virtual participation, world bank, world bank report
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