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diaspora

Anti-Money Laundering Regulations: Can Somalia survive without remittances?

Sonia Plaza's picture

Remittances have been the main source of foreign exchange supporting Somalia during the conflict for the last twenty years. A recent IMF fact-finding mission to Somalia found that about $2 billion in remittances are handled by money transfer companies. These companies are located throughout the country and they are providing shadow banking services since there are no licensed commercial banks. Somalis called this system “xawilaad” which is the Somali rendering of the Arabic word “hawala”.

Since the events of September 11, 2001, many countries have adopted stringent Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terror (AML-CFT) regulations for funds transfers. Several banks in the US (Wells Fargo, US Bank, the TCF bank, and Sunrise Community Bank) and in the UK closed the accounts of money services business to avoid incurring in penalties for not complying with the new regulations. (Note: HSBC was fined $1.9 billion for not complying with money laundering controls in 2012.)

Connecting the Diasporas in Singapore

Christian Eigen-Zucchi's picture

(In observance of the International Migrants Day, Dec 18)

While diasporas by country of origin are typically bundled together in broadly held conceptions, they are not monolithic, and are separated by numerous other characteristics, including socioeconomic status.  I was privileged to participate in the South Asia Diaspora Convention 2013 (SADC) that took place in Singapore on November 20-21, 2013, and the stark contrast with the riots that occurred in the Little India district of the city state just a few weeks later, serves as a reminder of these chasms.  Strengthening the connections between varied diasporas, and continuing integration efforts that enable all to build a stake in society, will be essential to realizing shared aspirations.

Channeling Caribbean diaspora dollars back home

Qahir Dhanani's picture

“We have the money, but it’s just not that easy to find the deals back home.” These words, from a Barbadian entrepreneur in Silicon Valley tell the story of a successful tech entrepreneur whose family left the Caribbean almost a generation ago. They moved to the USA and over the years he was able to build a successful business based in Northern California.

Getting the remittance system right for Africa?

Soheyla Mahmoudi's picture

The remittances sent home every year by the African Diaspora should create a doorway to still greater opportunities, and the key to this door is financial access. While remittances do impact the living standards of beneficiaries directly, the banks that pay out the remittances month after month should offer recipient families a basic financial package including savings accounts, payment services and small loans for microenterprise.  This should facilitate growth from current levels of remittances saved and invested.  Leveraging of remittances through financial inclusion is certain to increase their development potential.

Growing role of diaspora in development discussed at the Ministerial conference in Geneva

Oksana Pidufala's picture

On June 18 -19, I attended the Diaspora Ministerial Conference on the theme “Diasporas and Development: Bridging between Societies and States” organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva. The conference was the first of its kind to serve as an international platform for diaspora ministries and representatives to discuss the role and contribution of diaspora in development policy.  The event brought together some 55 high level government officials from 115 countries with about 500 participants in total.

The Decline of Development Aid and the Rise of the Diaspora?

Extensive thought has been devoted to aid and development and to migration and development. We have thought less however about whether migration could replace development aid, how far and in what conditions. In a book I have just written called, “Development Without Aid: The Decline of Development Aid and the Rise of the Diaspora” (Anthem Press) I try to provide answers.

The principal objection to the replacement idea is that, predominantly, migrant remittances go to private consumption not to investment in public goods. Yet there is much evidence that aid itself has done a poor job on public goods and gets diverted into (conspicuous) consumption, whereas a diaspora can, in fact, provide public goods, while the consumption it generates goes more to basic needs. 

My instincts about the problems of development aid grew up with me in British Colonial Nyasaland; deep down therefore the book is based on hunch as much as evidence. But there is much evidence - manifested in well-documented problems of aid fragmentation, dependence, the breakdown of links between governors and governed, clientelism and inducement to corruption. Other systemic issues arise such as the Resource Curse whereby high Aid-to-GNI ratios bid up exchange rates and undermine exports. But beyond these issues the problems of aid are fundamentally about power relationships and ‘ownership’.

Global Forum on Migration and Development 2012: Mauritius - What a great forum!

Sonia Plaza's picture

I just attended the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)in Mauritius last November 21 -22, 2012. It was the first time that the GFMD was chaired by an African country. It was also the first time that the World Bank was invited to be a presenter (we are only observers in these meetings) in the Round Table - Supporting Migrants and Diaspora as Agents of Socioeconomic Change, co chaired by France, Kenya and Morocco. The Bank also wrote jointly with IFAD and IOM the background paper for this session.
See paper.

Promoting Investments in Energy at the Congressional Black Caucus

Beldina Auma's picture

At the recent Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Legislative week held in Washington DC, African Diaspora was the focus.  Economic development—supporting Africa’s priorities in the areas of jobs, education, gender, health, youth—was one of the main threads that ran through the week-long discussions.

At the session “Africa Rising: A Continent of Opportunity”, Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, was one of three panelists discussing “Africa’s Growing Economies.” Africa’s average growth has exceeded five percent per year and accelerated to six percent before the global economic crisis. Performance of the 22 non-oil exporting countries averaged higher than four percent annual growth for the decade between 1998 and 2008, all of which he attributed mainly to better macroeconomic policies. 

Global Diaspora Forum 2012 - Moving Forward by Giving Back

Dilip Ratha's picture

Secretary Hillary Clinton is hosting the second Global Diaspora Forum tomorrow (on July 25th and 26th), in an emphatic recognition of the importance of the diasporas in fostering America's diplomatic and financial relationships with their countries of origin. (The size of diasporas in the US is anecdotally mentioned to be somewhere between 60 to 70 million - we don't know for sure and even worse, we don't yet have a consensus on the definition of diasporas.) To make the event accessible beyond the beltway, many sessions including the Secretary’s remarks will be livestreamed on state.gov. Also some parallel diaspora events are taking place at the same time - for example, a Tedx style event is hosted at the University of Minnesota. I understand that key State Department colleagues involved in the diaspora forum have reached out to Canada, the UK and the EU seeking collaboration on diaspora and development issues. Bravo!


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