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Diaspora Matters

Announcing the International Conference on Diaspora for Development, July 13-14, 2009

Sonia Plaza's picture

The Migration and Remittances team of the Development Economics and Prospects Group (DEPG) of the World Bank is organizing an International Conference on Diaspora and Development on July 13-14, 2009 in Washington D.C. You are invited to participate in this conference and join economists, policy makers and other colleagues in the discussions. 

The diaspora of developing countries can be a potent force for development for their countries of origin, through remittances, but more importantly, also through promotion of trade, investments, knowledge and technology transfers. The conference aims to consolidate research and evidence on these issues with a view to formulating policies in both sending and receiving countries.

New paths to funding: Performance-indexed bonds

Dilip Ratha's picture

As estimates of the financing gap in developing countries range from $350 to $635 billion, there are increasing efforts to find new sources and innovative ways to mobilize external financing.  In the latest issue of Finance & Development, Suhas Ketkar and I contributed an article, “New Paths to Funding," which discusses diaspora bonds, performance-indexed bonds and securitization of future remittances and export earnings as possible means for restoring, or starting, access of poor country borrowers to international capital markets.
New sources of financing include potential savings from reducing remittance fees. The G8 Global Remittances Working Group has set a 5X5 target - reduce remittance fees by 5 percentage points within 5 years - which could raise more than $15 billion additional, annual resource flows to developing countries. This objective got welcome support from the G8 Development Ministers Meeting in Italy last week. The Leading Group - a group of 55 countries that have come together to explore innovative financing for development - also discussed remittances and diaspora bonds in a meeting two weeks ago in Paris. 

Consumption smoothing via migration and remittances

Dilip Ratha's picture

Atlanta Fed Research Economist Federico Mandelman and Andrei Zlate, a PhD candidate in economics at Boston College, have prepared a paper analyzing the role that of migration and remittances during the business cycle. The data they present indicate that when the U.S. economy has outperformed Mexico’s, there were usually more attempted illegal crossings into the United States.

Ethiopia announces first diaspora corporate bond

Sanket Mohapatra's picture

Ethiopia announced perhaps the first sub-sovereign corporate bond aimed at the diaspora. A release by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that the bond launched on December 23rd will provide funds to the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO) for investments which will increase power supply to the nation, where only 27 percent of the people currently have access to electricity.

Innovative financing through migration and remittances

Dilip Ratha's picture

Perhaps one of the earliest utilitarians was Charvak (his name literally means "sweet talker" in Sanskrit) who a few centuries ago said, "live happily as long as you live/drink a lot of ghee, and borrow if need be!" Now in the thick of a financial crisis marked by excessive borrowing and lending, one might argue against the Charvak Doctrine. It's true that debt, like fire, can be dangerous ("Don't borrow, because you will get into debt"), but if managed prudently, it can also fuel new projects, new products, and growth and employment in many poor countries.

The European Pact on Immigration and Asylum: Will there be more competition for skilled workers?

Sonia Plaza's picture

Last Thursday, the European Union’s interior ministers agreed on the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum.

Until recently, immigration policies in the majority of EU countries have tended to be “skill blind”, and large inflows of immigrants have been admitted for humanitarian reasons. Now, the trend of re-directing migration policy towards economic (largely skilled) immigration, initiated by Australia, New Zealand and Canada, is being followed by the UK and other EU countries.