How can the diaspora contribute to the development of Africa?

Boubacar Diallo

According to the IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), the African diaspora sent more than 60 billion dollars to Africa in 2016. However, the African Union defines the African diaspora as people of African origin living outside the country. Africa, who wish to participate actively in the development and construction of the African Union. This means that the latter has potential that can contribute to the development of Africa. What are the areas of improvement that it can offer to the African continent?

Encourage human development
The remittances sent to Africa initiated by the African diaspora help solve social problems such as health care, school fees or housing. This reality aims to encourage human development.

 

For example, in Côte d’Ivoire, many Ivorians living abroad have made the choice to subscribe to the social housing offer proposed by the national government. As these subscriptions are, for the most part, intended for the family staying on the spot, these actions contribute to improving the living conditions of Ivorians.

Contribute to the development of the industry
For a tourist destination such as Cape Verde, Senegal or Tunisia for example, the African diaspora is a very lucrative market, which helps revive the tourism industry in some countries.

 

It is therefore essential that local authorities have an excellent understanding of the characteristics of the African diaspora and its real economic and tourism power to develop an appropriate strategy to attract it.

Constitute a vector of knowledge transfer
One of the avenues for improvement that the diaspora can question is the transfer of technologies between their country of residence and their country of origin. Indeed, members of the diaspora are often academics, doctors, professionals, etc. having acquired their skills, qualifications and experience abroad.

They are therefore particularly qualified to participate in various technology transfers. It is recognized that “brain circulation” is driving the transfer of knowledge to countries of origin.

 

This can result in the return of the diaspora to their countries of origin, after a longer or shorter period spent abroad. It may also be a temporary migration between the country of origin and the country of residence.

 

The African diaspora diffuses in their country of origin the know-how that it acquired while maintaining relational networks, which simplifies the continuous sharing of knowledge. To do this, the host country must have sufficient absorptive capacity against the repats. In addition, those with proven talent must be able to integrate the local labor market into a position in line with their knowledge and skills.

Overcoming the infrastructure deficit
To do this, bond loans aimed at expatriates are likely to help African states to mobilize the necessary resources. This type of mechanism has already been put in place in India. The result proved to be a success.

 

In contrast, in Kenya, Rwanda or Ethiopia, the results were more mixed. Nevertheless, it is essential to keep in mind that these bonds are able to finance infrastructure improvement projects while contributing to development.

 

Dele Meiji Fatunla, a Nigerian-British Nigerian-born British writer who previously worked for the Royal African Society in Britain, says the mixed success of bonds in Africa is probably due to the distrust of the diaspora the capacity of African governments to repay.

 

In view of the potential represented by the African diaspora, it is undeniable that the governments of their countries of origin must put in place the necessary measures to facilitate and favor their contribution to the development of Africa.

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