The hypothesis tested is that, a key migration-related objective of many BiH long-term migrants is to build up a certain level of financial capital during migration - often combined with other important skills and contacts. As a direct result of this savings behaviour on the part of BiH migrants, a significant pool of ‘retained savings' is being accumulated in cash, investments and banking systems in countries of migration.
On balance, the amount of net savings retained by Bosnian migrant households abroad remains substantial at 8,500 Euros on average per annum. And, due to the high number of BiH households in long-term migration (conservatively estimated at between 480,000-536,000), the total estimated pool of annual ‘retained savings’ for 2009 is Euro 4,660 Million.
From a development perspective, this accumulated capital has an unrecognized potential - especially when combined with the social and human capital migrants have gained and might wish to invest in the realization of their plans and ideas. Depending on key factors related to the dynamic of migration intentions (close ties, possible return, etc.), and assuming that suitable local conditions exist (or can be created), migrants may choose to transfer these retained savings, or a portion thereof, at some future date to the country of origin.
As the central stakeholder an important priority of any balanced development policy is to mobilize the skills and know-how of migrants/diasporas - in parallel to the effect of financial transfers. Any policy or intervention designed to bring forth more engagement needs to focus on the interests and aims of migrants in participating in development initiatives.