I am been communicating with a group of people in a social network where we are discuss the issue why Africa is poor. I do not want to transfer the total content of those discussions here, but nonetheless, I would like to start discussions round Diaspora Remittances and hope that we can be able to achieve some sort of consensus where we can take it a step further – hopefully.
In 2007 Western Union released a study in which it revealed that the Diaspora remittances to developing countries were estimated at US$240 billion – double the value of the official development assistance received from foreign direct investment. The World Bank released recently new figures showing that alone the remittance flows to Sub-Sahara Africa will reach US$21.5 billion. However caution should be taking here when reviewing these figures consideration should be taken that millions of Africans rely on informal channels to sending money at home, thus making a difference in the figures above.
Is there a possibility of unleashing this potential and thus promoting long term economic development in Africa? Who are or should be the facilitators and how should these projects look like. What would happen if there was a program available which offered Diaspora Africans to acquire skills which they in turn can transfer to their families (most of whom live beyond the rail) and thus enable them to become self-sufficient?
Let us look at my famous Chinese Proverb: If you meet a hungry man at the bank of a river, if you fish for him, you will have given him food for the day, but if you teach him how to fish then you will have given him food for life. I would like to think that African is a one big Niche Market with unlimited opportunities and possibilities. Let us look at for example the tourist industry. Taking tourism to the village – Ethno Tourism. This way the village will benefit and people will be having income thus enable the person who has been constantly sending money back to home to invest in other projects.
I have seen this happen in Kenya at Kogelo Village for example. This village not known to many people, but now that people know that Obama comes from the area, we are now seeing an influx of tourism in the village. I believe that this can happen to any village in Africa, all that is needed is the right marketing strategy.
I have just read a newspaper report which I would like to share with you at this point which clearly shows that policy makers are reviewing their actions and concentrating in mobilizing the African Diaspora. The World Bank has recently launched a Database Program and want to reach diverse talents, skills and experiences of professionals throughout the world, so that they may be utilized to further Africa’s development agenda. Read here for more
How can the potential power of remittances be unleashed to promote long-term economic development in Africa?