Otieno Ong'ayo, A. 2016. Diaspora organisations and their development potential: An analysis of Ghanaian diaspora organisations in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. (Discussion Paper 200). Maastricht: ECDPM.
The heightened impact of international migration in both the countries of destination and the countries of origin highlights the significance of human mobility in the migration and development debates (Nyberg-Sørensen, 2012; Nyberg-Sørensen et al. 2002). The link between migration and development derives from the centrality of transnational diaspora activities and their translocal development outcomes (Zoomers and Van Westen, 2011). The development potential is reflected by the increased volume of financial remittances (World Bank, 2009), and various forms of social remittances (Levitt, 1998). These resources largely emanate from individual and collective initiatives, with the countries of origin as the main focus.
The issue of migration has received a great deal of attention in destination countries due to the perceived challenges in terms of demographic shifts, pressure on the welfare system, integration and participation, global competition for skilled labour (Ong’ayo et al. 2010), the increasing multiculturality of many towns and cities in the EU, and the large flows of refugees in need of protection seeking to cross the EU’s southern borders. These concerns inform the sharper focus on migration policies aimed at managing migration flows (Boswell, 2007).
They also provide an impetus for a re-examination of the development potential of diasporas in a framework that looks at their contributions from both a ‘here’ and a ‘there’ perspective. At the same time, it is imperative to take account of the development potential of diaspora organisations,1 in particular their contribution to the countries of destination. This is an aspect that has received only limited attention in the debate on the migration and development nexus. Human mobility not only benefits families and countries of origin, but also makes a significant contribution to development processes in destination countries, thanks to the reverse flows generated by individual and collective initiatives (Mazzucato, 2011).
Antony Otieno Ong'ayo