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.
The two main topics discussed in the sub-session on financial issues included: Kenya's example of the M-PESA/Safaricom mobile remittances and diaspora bonds.
Several questions were raised by the audience on regulatory issues for cross-border remittances such as consumer protection and anti-money laundering , On diaspora financial services, the Bank underscored the role of the diaspora for being a catalyst for developing capital markets in their countries of origin by diversifying the investor base and by introducing new financial products. The session recognized the importance of undertaking diaspora surveys to assess the characteristics of the diaspora. It is not only sufficient to know where the diaspora is but it is key to know their attitudes toward investment in their countries of origin, the type of financial products they will require and their possible contributions to their countries.
It was also interesting to see how well the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) was received by government representatives. The discussions of this year's GFMD were very substantial with a great interaction of countries from the South and the North exchanging their views on different migration topics.