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15 Dec 2023

Study to Review Existing Practices in Southern African Development Community Member States on Diaspora Engagement and Productive Use of Remittances in the Region

The widespread recognition of the diaspora’s role in development has led to an increase in diaspora policy development and programmes attempting to leverage the good will and resources of emigrants. The diaspora has the potential to make substantial contributions, and the most recognized of these are the remittances they send to the countries of origin, as well as their role in the development of human capital. The Southern Africa region is known for a high level of intraregional migration and mobility patterns with a net emigration being positive, reflecting and reinforcing ongoing regional dynamics.

Southern Africa diaspora populations are growing, as well as the scale of resources available to invest in the countries of origin. However, there has been less focus on diaspora for development in this region compared to others in the continent. Only a few countries have developed initiatives to involve diasporas in development activities, and there is limited information on existing practices and strategies for productive use of remittances.

This study reviewed existing practices within countries in the Southern African Development Community on diaspora engagement and the productive use of remittances in the region. The report focuses on the 16 countries in the Southern Africa region.

  • Acknowledgement
  • List of figures
  • List of tables
  • List of text boxes
  • List of acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Objectives and research questions. 
    • 2.1. Objectives
    • 2.2. Research questions guiding the review
  • 3. Conceptual issues
    • 3.1. Conceptualizing diaspora for the Southern African region
    • 3.2. Conceptual approach to diaspora engagement and contribution to development
  • 4. Methodology
    • 4.1. Desk review
    • 4.2. Collection and synthesis of secondary data
    • 4.3. Development of instrument and collection of primary data
    • 4.4. Data analysis
  • 5. Findings
    • 5.1. Mapping of the diaspora in Southern Africa
  • 6. An assessment of existing mechanisms for engaging the Southern African diaspora 
    • 6.1. Measures for capacity development
    • 6.2. Symbolic nation-building
    • 6.3. Gaps/challenges in current diaspora engagement initiatives
  • 7. Legislative instruments and regulatory frameworks that extend rights to the diaspora
  • 8. Programmes for extracting obligations and leveraging remittances for development
    • 8.1. Remittance inflows and the diaspora in Southern Africa
    • 8.2. Initiatives by Southern Africa Development Community member States to leverage diaspora remittances and investment
    • 8.3. Gaps/challenges in productive uses of remittances
  • 9.    Opportunities and best practices from the Southern African countries
  • 10. Best practices from other countries
  • 11. Conclusion and recommendations 
    • 11.1. Conclusion 
    • 11.2. Recommendations
  • Appendices
  • References