Latest UN Report emphasizes on harnessing Diaspora remittances and knowledge

Published Date:   Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012


Latest UN Report emphasizes on harnessing Diaspora remittances and knowledge

Diaspora’s role in home countries development has been increasingly a subject of mainstream development discourses these days. Leading multilateral institutions such as UNDP, WB have already emphasized the potential contribution of the diaspora since 1990s in the context of “brain drain”. The recent Least Developed Countries (LDC) Report 2012 titled “Harnessing Remittances and Diaspora Knowledge to Build Productive Capacities” focuses on the issue of diaspora remittances and knowledge from a wider perspective.  

Once not given much attention, remittances received by the least developed countries have become subject matter of development discourses in recent times. The LDC Report 2012 mentioned Remittances in the countries having large number of diaspora can be valuable for least developed countries if managed through appropriate policies. Most LDC countries have sizable population in the diaspora. Emigration from LDCs grew rapidly in 1990–2010. With 27.5 million emigrants in 2010, LDCs as a whole accounted for 13 per cent of global emigration stocks, or some 3.3 per cent of the LDC population. This huge population has potential for development impact on the home countries. The Report mentioned that “Remittances are significant private financial resources for households in countries of origin of migration. There is a need for further efforts to lower the transaction costs of remittances and create opportunities for development oriented investment, bearing in mind that remittances cannot be considered as a substitute for foreign direct investment, ODA, debt relief or other public sources of finance for development”.

The report also stressed the need for harnessing the human resources of diaspora for productive use for the development of the home country. The report mentioned that these skilled professionals can play the role of “development agent” for the home country. However, the report also observed that “the effective mobilization of a diaspora for development depends on the existence of a critical mass of migrants in a given destination”. This critical mass need not to be large, rather small number with proper mobilizing strategy can create a complementary impact on the country’s development”. The report mentioned that the majority of emigrants who have attained tertiary education tend to migrate to developed countries. In fact, Haiti (83 per cent), Samoa (73 per cent), the Gambia (68 per cent) and Tuvalu (65 per cent) have the highest emigration rates of tertiary-educated LDC population.                                                                                                                                                                               

The UN Report identifies policies, including policy lessons from other countries that LDCs may wish to consider in designing policy frameworks for harnessing remittances and diaspora knowledge to build productive capacities. It provides inputs for large array of stake-holders development policies.



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