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HARNESSING DIASPORA INITIATIVES FOR SUB-REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT Professor Bolade M. Eyinla Department of History University of Ilorin Ilorin, NIGERIA

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Presentation on theme: "HARNESSING DIASPORA INITIATIVES FOR SUB-REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT Professor Bolade M. Eyinla Department of History University of Ilorin Ilorin, NIGERIA"— Presentation transcript:

1 HARNESSING DIASPORA INITIATIVES FOR SUB-REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT Professor Bolade M. Eyinla Department of History University of Ilorin Ilorin, NIGERIA

2 TEASER 50 Million Overseas Chinese constitutes one of the largest Diaspora in the World. This Diaspora has built up powerful business networks controlling significant sectors of the economy in South and East Asia and beyond. In the course of 50 years, they have made a tremendous contribution to the socio- economic development of China. The Government of China has accorded preferential treatment to the Chinese Diaspora by creating an enabling environment for them to get involved in the economic development of China

3 3 NEED FOR PARAGIDM SHIFT Need to stop talking about brain drain of human capital from Africa and to focus attention on brain circulation and brain gain of Africans for Continental Development

4 THE DIASPORA  The word Diaspora originated from the Greek words diaspeirõ, that is scatter.  The word used originally to describe the dispersal of Jews in the 8 th to 6 th BC.  It is now used to describe any group of people so dispersed.

5 THE WEST AFRICAN DIASPORA  West African Diaspora refers to all persons originating from the West African Sub-region who reside, work, or pursue educational careers in various host countries.  People of West African origin who maintain strong sentimental and material links with their respective home countries in the sub-region.  Peoples of African descent who trace their roots back to West Africa and have such attachments to the sub-region.

6 THE WEST AFRICAN DIASPORA  West African Diaspora is not a collective group with collective identities.  They are not homogeneous entity, but are heterogeneous individuals and groups with diverse goals and interest  Operate through informal, ad-hoc and disparate structures outside of mainstream development agencies

7 THE WEST AFRICAN DIASPORA  There exists among them the possibility of transnational cooperation and collaboration.  The existence of such cooperation and collaboration are real and must be acknowledged by ECOWAS and the member states.  To do otherwise may lead to the exclusion of many individuals, communities and networks willing to contribute to national and regional development.

8 THE WEST AFRICAN DIASPORA  African Governments at national, regional and continental level must not be:  Oblivious  Indifferent  Hostile to their Diaspora and their progeny.  Doing so means overlooking an important development resource  Rather they must develop an Efficient Diaspora Strategy (EDS) in mobilising human & fiscal capital for development

9 IMPORTANCE OF THE DIASPORA  An Efficient Diaspora Strategy (EDS) must be enabling, inclusionary and operated as a partnership.  EDS has become an important developmental resource.  EDS is becoming critical for national, regional and continental political and socio-economic development.  EDS increasingly occupies a central theme in international development debates.

10 IMPORTANCE OF THE DIASPORA EDS assist in promoting development  Through Foreign Direct Investment  Remittance of money & other resources  Participation in political processes  Encouraging tourism and cultural understanding  Transfer of knowledge, experience, know-how and intellectual capital.

11 ENGAGING THE DIASPORA Strategies:  Identify Diaspora Groups & Communities  Build a network with these communities  Establish positive communication with them  Establish an agenda for action with them  Provide an enabling and adequate policy environment  Acknowledge ability of the Diaspora to bring new political and economic ideas, skills, investments, and above all, new ways of doing things

12 ENGAGING THE DIASPORA ECOWAS COUNTRIES WITH ACTIVE DIASPORA POLICY & STRATEGY  NIGERIA: Ministries, Agencies, Departments, NIDO, PSOs and CBOs  GHANA: Ministries, Agencies, Departments, Joseph Project and HTAs  MALI: Full Fledged Ministry  SENEGAL: Full Fledged Ministry

13 ENGAGING THE DIASPORA Strategies:  Improving the availability of relevant data on Diaspora population  Embark on advocacy and capacity building activities  Strengthen partnership among all stakeholders, e.g. private institutions, academia, public enterprises and other development stakeholders  Develop joint strategies for development

14 ENGAGING THE DIASPORA  Recognize the Diaspora as full citizens and recognize their initiatives, competencies and capabilities for institutional change and building leadership  Establish organized structure for harnessing Diaspora initiatives and contribution  Entrench adequate strategies into a national policy on Diaspora  Address structural institutional and systemic roadblocks against mainstreaming Diaspora into national/regional political and socio- economic life

15 ENGAGING THE DIASPORA Regional Focus Areas:  Infrastructure, Science and ICT  Development of Small, Medium & Micro Enterprises  Enhancement of Entrepreneurial and Technical Skill for the Youth  Promoting FDI

16 ENGAGING THE DIASPORA Address:  View of Diaspora “foreigners” with lots of money to spend and thus treated unfairly, routinely overcharged and often misled  State of insecurity as high level of security translates into high level of return, whereas low level of security implies low return  Create conducive environment for Business Development to mitigate deplorable state of infrastructure, epileptic power supply, health facilities, inefficient capital market, corruption, poor investment climate and public law enforcement mechanisms

17 ENGAGING THE DIASPORA  Develop Partnership with the World Bank, UNDP, IOM and relevant development partners  Adapt international best practice standards and have assisted several countries/regions in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa  Adopt Benchmark practices of countries/regions that have implemented successful programme in Diaspora engagement


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