There was a call for urgent implementation and policy strategies that would safeguard diaspora investments at the 3rd Diaspora Engagement Forum 2019 (AIR – DEF) held in The Hague, Netherlands from 2 - 3 May.
The theme of the Forum is: Creating an enabling environment for upscaling the potential impact of remittances: A multi-stakeholder approach.
Mr. Njuguna Ndonga - former Governor, Bank of Kenya in his Keynote address said the need for Countries of Origin and their partners do not only have to put in place viable investments for the diaspora, but also have to promote the awareness of the investment, and also ease access to the investment through digitalization of investment channels.
In the process the African Union, European Union and their partners are asked to be committed to supporting Governments of Countries of Origin and diaspora organizations to engage and collaborate more effectively with each other
On upscaling the potential impact of remittances, participants discussed the aspects to do with institutionalization of diaspora initiatives and leveraging remittances for financial inclusion, pointing to the fact that there are a number of opportunities that the diaspora can leverage, such as the African Diaspora Investment Fund (ADIF) and the EU Global Diaspora Facility.
Mr. Stephen Adaawen from the German Development Institute said that countries of residence need to ensure that formal channels are accessed easily enough, of course alongside due diligent processes.
Also Mr. Anthony Ongayo from the institute of social studies said the policy initiatives to be adopted must meet the needs and interests of all involved stakeholders, if they are to be sustainably enforced.
On a multi-stakeholder approach to diaspora investments, there issues of collective investment, frugal innovations and protection of diaspora investments should be looked into.
It was suggested that the diaspora should afford to pull their resources together rather than operating individually as would lessen the risk thus resulting in greater success. In addition they were advised to invest in small feasible appropriate organisations rather than grandiose ones. They were also encouraged to use professional support rather than family members who cannot be brought to book if things go wrong.
Mr. Amadou Cissö Interim Executive Director, AIR
It was also suggested that they could make use of Public Private Partnerships to maximizing the impact of remittances and improving access to finance among others, as the public sector needs to regulate the private sector, even as they allow them to be creative and offer more services for remittance senders and receivers in a streamlined manner.
On a closing note diaspora are to be considered as technology drivers as many have vast experience that can be harnessed.
The event ended with closing remarks from Mr. Cisse who thanked all the attendees and informed them that the next DEF would take place in Brussels.