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A $100 billion idea: Harnessing migration for financing development goals

Dilip Ratha's picture
As global leaders meet in Addis Ababa this week to decide how development goals would be financed in the next 15 years, I hope they'll take note of the enormous potential of harnessing diasporas, migration and remittances. Please read this note outlining a few under-exploited market-based financing options that are directly connected to international migration.

Call for Proposals: Evaluation of diaspora programs

Dilip Ratha's picture
Diaspora engagement is a big and growing issue in developed and developing countries, with strong policy interest. But all things considered, the topic is vastly under-studied compared to its economic importance. A serious obstacle to good policy-making is the lack of collective learning about the impact of diaspora policy interventions.

Remittances to India — Resilient to Domestic and External Shocks

Poonam Gupta's picture

Having surpassed the annual volume of portfolio capital flows or official development assistance, remittances are among the largest and most stable external flows to developing countries. As per the World Bank estimates, remittances to developing countries have increased steadily over the years, from $324 billion in 2009 to $436 billion in 2014. The resilience of remittances has not been uniform across countries though. It has depended crucially on the economic conditions in the host countries where a country’s diaspora population lives; and on the kind of economic activities that it primarily engages in. Remittances are affected adversely during economic slowdown in the host countries, and especially if the diaspora engages in cyclically volatile activities, such as construction.

How Economic Incentives Can Stimulate Diaspora Philanthropy

Alexander Dixon's picture

Diasporas are increasingly garnering attention as contributors to economic and social development in their countries of origin. Remittances from international migrants to developing countries alone are three times the amount of official development assistance. Diasporas have both the desire and capacity to invest in their countries of origin, but as discussed in our last blog post (Why Diaspora Investing is a Burgeoning Trend), there exists several barriers to diaspora capital flows including lack of information, widespread legal challenges, and the growing need for financial intermediaries. U.S. diasporas value transparency, tax deductions, and the ability to invest in entrepreneurship, but they are often restricted from investing due to strict investor regulations. Perhaps the solution is a well-established IRS philanthropic vehicle called a donor advised fund (DAF), which can be tailored to appeal to the diaspora.

The 8th Migration and Development Conference is Next Week

Caglar Ozden's picture

The 8th Migration and Development Conference will be held on June 8-9 at the World Bank Group headquarters in Washington, DC. This is the premier annual conference on migration issues that investigates how international migration affects economic and social change in developing countries. This conference is co-sponsored with the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Center for Global Development (CGD). In addition to Çağlar Özden  from the World Bank, the organizers of the conference are Cyrille Bellier (AFD),  Hillel Rapoport (Paris School of Economics) and Michael Clemens (CGD).

​Migration, Remittances and Diaspora for Financing for Development

Sonia Plaza's picture

The International Conference: Harnessing Migration, Remittances and Diaspora Contributions for Financing Sustainable Development organized by the Global Migration Group (GMG) will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday May 26-27.

We will stream live to viewers around the globe on the UN Web TV website at:

The hashtag for the conference is #GMGconference. Use this to refer to the event, make your views known and get the latest discussions and comments from the conference.

Harnessing Migration, Remittances and Diaspora Contributions for Financing Sustainable Development: International Conference organized by the Global Migration Group, May 26-27, 2015, United Nations, New York

Dilip Ratha's picture

The year 2015 marks an important turning point in global development processes as the international community is faced with the challenges and the opportunities of shaping effective strategies to both promote sustainable development and secure its financing. This Conference entitled “Harnessing Migration, Remittances and Diaspora Contributions for Financing Sustainable Development” is taking place against the backdrop of the intergovernmental negotiations at the United Nations General Assembly for the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development (Addis Ababa, July 13-16, 2015) and the United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda (New York, September 2015). To participate in-person please RSVP to [email protected] by 20 May 2015.

Help Nepal: Waive the remittance fees, and open the door wider

Dilip Ratha's picture
I was struck by an interview featured in a recent show of CBC Radio One's The Current. Nani Gautam, a live-in caregiver in Canada, was asked how important was the money she sent home to her family in Nepal, especially after the earthquake. “As important as breathing for life,” said Nani, who sends home at least one-third of her earnings every month, month-after-month, for the last five years. Her remittances are even more important now, after the earthquake.

The new European Agenda for Managing Migration: How to find the needle, and not destroy the haystack

Dilip Ratha's picture
Earlier this week, the EU announced a new agenda to address the latest wave of migration through the Mediterranean. Some 30,000 migrants are estimated to have arrived in Europe this year already, and over 1,800 have died in the sea. Last year Syrians and Eritreans were the two largest groups of such migrants. Most of them took to the sea from Libya.

Will nationalization policies in Saudi Arabia impact migrants and remittance flows?

Kirsten Schuettler's picture

Saudi Arabia hosts the largest number of migrants in the Gulf region. The country is the second largest remittance sender after the USA. A new Saudization program since 2011, the so-called “Nitaqat program”, seeks to increase the number of Saudi nationals employed in the private sector. Will this have an impact on migrants and remittance outflows from Saudi Arabia?