New research from the Commonwealth Secretariat highlights the potential role that diaspora communities in the United Kingdom can play in promoting the development of their countries of origin.
Country-specific reports on diaspora from Bangladesh, Fiji, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya and Nigeria show that tackling certain barriers to investment, could leverage untapped streams of income and boost economic growth.
The findings identify the current saving and investing practices of the six diaspora communities based in the UK as well as the unique challenges to increasing that investment. They outline ways to incentivise and facilitate investment by reducing financial risks and optimising best practices.
The country reports build on the Secretariat’s flagship Diaspora Investor Survey, entitled Understanding the Investment Potential of the Commonwealth Diaspora, which was launched at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April this year.
They mark the end of the first phase of the Secretariat’s work on diaspora finance. The focus is now on the second phase which seeks to work directly with countries to develop tailored policy recommendations and product options to mobilise diaspora finance.
Speaking at a launch ceremony at Marlborough House, the High Commissioner of Fiji, Jitoko Tikolevu acknowledged the work undertaken by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
“In light of the findings of the country-specific reports, Fiji asked for the assistance of the Secretariat in the development of our country specific policy recommendations to take this project further.” he said.
He commended the Secretariat’s role in drafting the policy recommendations for his country which are now under consideration by his government.
He said that once these policies would be implemented they could boost the share of GDP contributed by remittance flows.
The reports note that the financial connections between the diaspora and their home countries are common yet remain predominately informal. Challenges such as perceived corruption, poor governance and fluctuating currencies were highlighted.