Diaspora Engagement on Country Entrepreneurship and Investment: Policy Trends and Notable Practices in the Rabat Process region - Background Paper Rabat Process (ENGLISH & FRENCH)

Date published



This document has been issued as a background paper for the Rabat Process - Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and development - Thematic Meeting on Diaspora Engagement Strategies on Entrepreneurship and Investment that took place in Bamako, Mali, on October 5th – 6th.

It has been coordinated by the Secretariat of the Rabat Process, ICMPD, and authored by Valérie Wolff, International Centre for Migration Policy Development ICMPD, and Stella Opoku-Owusu, African Foundation for Development, AFFORD.

The report acknowledges that in an ideal scenario, engaged and motivated diaspora entrepreneurs can operate in a well-functioning framework through which they can make informed business decisions on the basis of sourced investments and opportunities for knowledge transfer in countries of origin.

In this perspective, the key findings of the report in the Rabat Process region show that engagement efforts and investment models tend to target the diaspora “elite” and, sometimes, are separate from migrant issues. Research demonstrates that “low skilled” migrants and their remittances may have a higher impact on poverty alleviation and local entrepreneurship and investment due to their recipient demographics and size of home country’s informal sector. They should be prioritized for poverty alleviation.Moreover, regional and country knowledge of migration patterns, diaspora realities (first generation versus next generation versus returning), and readiness is growing but insufficient, as only around half of the countries are currently developing policies. Rigorous implementation is required at domestic and international points of service. Furthermore, tracking of program results – both from public and non-government sectors – is extremely poor. Without proper data collection, it is difficult to demonstrate tangible impact.

Based on the assessment results, the report puts forward the following policy recommendations in order to better mobilize diaspora and harness its contribution to the development of the country of origin:

1) Develop municipal-, country- and regional-level diaspora engagement plans that are coherent, practical and timely.

2) Ensure policy coherence by mainstreaming diaspora-related matters in national and local development policies, as well as sector policies to create an enabling business environment that is conducive for diaspora entrepreneurship and investments. Within this framework, ensure that diaspora policies/ offices sit within appropriate departments, such as finance or other business-related units.

3) Systematically collect, monitor and analyse diaspora entrepreneurship/investment initiatives and remittance flows (e.g. by expanding household surveys to gather information on remittance). Collect data on diaspora businesses through existing investment hubs, such as one-stop shops.

4) At regional level, examine more closely South-South diaspora engagement patterns, in particular on matters relating to remittance and investment flows, trade and (migrant/diaspora) entrepreneurship.

5) Develop local authorities’ knowledge for programming effective diaspora entrepreneurship and investment schemes allowing for a systematic way to measure their readiness to attract diaspora capital. Consider peer-to-peer learning and exchanges, in particular South-South exchanges and mentorship programmes that match migrant entrepreneurs with local entrepreneurs to share complementary skills and competencies on entrepreneurship and investment. This could take the form of internships, scholarships, secondments, sponsorships or other.

6) Enable direct diaspora investment in viable, productive, and strategic sectors and investment projects by diversifying and providing suitable and targeted financial products. Develop specifically targeted fact sheets on ‘how to do business in…’, targeting key areas that diaspora are interested in.

7) Develop the technical skills of migrant/diaspora entrepreneurs, in particular women and youth-led start-ups and social enterprises through coaching, mentoring, workshops and other.

8) Facilitate access to financial resources for diaspora entrepreneurs. This could include capital injection into the economy for the purpose of developing the SME sector, e.g. expanding bank’s capitalisation for on-lending and investments, provision of local and transnational grants and other forms of capital, streamlining regulations to allow the development of local capital markets, and providing tax incentives to facilitate the creation of SMEs.

9) Remove unreasonable administrative barriers for SMEs with streamlined regulatory procedures and establishment of one-stop-shops for businesses, thus ensuring fullest possible participation and fullest possible access to information for all diaspora and migrant entrepreneurs, including migrant women and migrant youth, thus enabling better and easier navigation of the local business environment.

10) Remove structural and citizenship barriers (such as the denial of dual citizenship) for diaspora entrepreneurs.

11) Establish broad partnerships between private sector, governments, civil society, and non-profit organizations, in particular diaspora/migrant business networks in order to facilitate diaspora/migrant entrepreneurship and investment, e.g. through the establishment of networking events.


For the English version, click here

Pour la version en francais, cliquez ici

English version

Thematic area

  • Diaspora engagement

Document type

Focus area

Reinforcing the capacities of migrant communities for development

French version

Publisher / Organisation


JMDI publication