“Diaspora for Development in Africa” is a collection of contributions by individuals of high repute in the field of immigration and diaspora development globally. The book presents ideas on how Africa can maximize its gains from its citizens living abroad. The authors’ thesis is that diaspora communities of developing nations can be a fundamental force for the development of their countries of origin. These individuals can play a key role in improving the African economy as a whole only through remittance but also via the promotion of trade, investments, research, innovation, and knowledge, and technology transfer. The book presents tried and tested solutions for maximizing gains from the diaspora by various developed nations to African countries.
The author argues that estimating the size of the African Diaspora is difficult due to the incomplete data available and the differences in the definition of the terms, migrants, and Diaspora (56). However, using a narrow definition of Diaspora as a foreign-born population, the author estimates that there were over 30 million emigrants from African nations in 2010. Besides, the main destination for African immigrants is countries within Africa. The author claims that together, these individuals can contribute to the economies of their countries in various ways.
The author believes that the international community is pushing a policy agenda aimed at maximizing the benefits of diasporas (225). Nations, both sending and receiving, have begun to create and implement policies aimed at boosting financial resources, information, and technology from diasporas. The policies include offers of dual citizenship, an extension of voting rights to citizens living abroad, incentives to return to home countries, and destination countries’ support for diasporas.
The author also argues that several African countries have formed governmental initiatives to engage and interact with the Diaspora. These initiatives range from the creation of ministries dedicated to deal with migrant communities to the formulation of migrant councils to investigate and facilitate the resolution of issues facing the migrant community (322). However, the author opines that the programs have not maintained their momentum due to the lack of funding and support by the African governments.
The book is made up of contributions by several professionals in the migration field who took part in the 2009 International Conference on Diaspora and Development in Washington DC. The papers are authored by different people; hence, the book has many contributors. Prof. Michael A. Clemens, Prof. Jonathan Crush and, Valeria Galetto are some of the authors of the papers. The two editors consolidated the mentioned contributions from researchers and scholars of known repute in the field of migration and diaspora development to come up with the book.
The book achieves the authors’ and contributors’ purpose of highlighting the need for diaspora development in Africa in various ways. Through the authors’ and contributors’ research, the book provides a retinue of solutions that have been tried and tested by developed countries on how to maximize their diaspora development. The book’s purpose is achieved through the numerous policies put forward by the authors for implementation by African countries in a bid to maximize the gain from the diaspora. Lastly, the book raises awareness on the African immigrants’ issue and emphasizes the need for African countries to be more involved in the life of their citizens in diaspora.
Plaza, Sonia, and Dilip Ratha. Diaspora for Development in Africa. World Bank, 2011.