Viewpoint: Diasporas Are Undertapped Resources For Global Development
By Bonnie Chiu
An unprecedented number of people live of people live in a country other than where they were born – a total of 258 million in 2017, an increase of 49% since 2000. While politicians and development actors often see this as a problem ‘to be solved’, migrants present an undertapped resource for global development. And it is not just these first-generation migrants, but also their children who maintain some links to their parents’ home countries – collectively defined as the diasporas.
One of the most obvious contributions is remittances and other material donations. In 2015, remittances to developing countries by diasporas totaled $441 billion – more than three times the amount of development aid ($132 billion) deployed in the same year. However, this rarely comes in the form of giving through charitable institutions. “There is a fair amount of skepticism among diaspora around both international and local charities,” said an experienced major donors fundraiser interviewed for this article.
Photo courtesy of Elias Castillo.