Diaspora and development

Authored by: Ben Page , Claire Mercer

Routledge Handbook of Diaspora Studies

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  August  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138631137
eBook ISBN: 9781315209050
Adobe ISBN:


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There are few areas of public policy in which the idea of a diaspora has been applied more instrumentally and extensively than in the international development sector. A cursory perusal of Developing a road map for engaging diasporas in development: a handbook for policymakers and practitioners in home and host countries, published in 2012 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), reveals the current thinking. The task of governments in the Global South is to get to know their diaspora, to mobilize it and to build the diaspora’s capacity to contribute to homeland development. In some cases, the task is even to construct a diaspora if none exists. In this policy-framing, diasporas are a source of remittances to be leveraged, investment to be procured and human capital to be returned. Engage your diaspora to boost your economic growth (Mithra 2016)! This is a topic where the definition of ‘diaspora’ is a long way from the standard academic definitions that have been used in the past. From the global development industry’s perspective, first-generation migrants form the primary group of ‘diasporas’ with whom they attempt to engage, though any individual can be enrolled as long as they are (or can be encouraged to be) sympathetic to the development of their ancestral homeland.

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