According to United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD), the inflow of remittances to Africa from its Diaspora (migrants) have quadrupled since 1990, reaching US$40 billion in 2010, approximately 3 percent of Africas total GDP. Diaspora remittances provide many benefits at both the household and government levels, they support the lives of millions of poor citizens in urban and rural areas, where millions live on less than $2.00 per day. Remittances help to improve the balance of payments, boost a countrys foreign exchange reserves, and expand exports, particularly using the provisions of The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Although Diaspora remittances offer significant benefits to Africa, a number of African countries do not have friendly policies and programs in place to optimize their benefits.
The estimated total savings by the African Diaspora in banks across the world total US $50 billion per year which is greater than the US $30 billion annual funding that Africa requires for infrastructure. Attracting some of these monies to Africa could significantly improve the funding gap and these savings could be used to finance the regions investment requirements, especially, in infrastructure, and to expand trade under AGOA. Thus, African governments should devise policies and programs aimed at encouraging the African Diaspora to send back some of their savings for the development of African economies.
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa, as in most parts of the world -are the engine for economic growth and employment. Despite the U.S Governments generous market access program for eligible Sub Saharan African nations (currently 40 nations) under AGOA, export trade which is a major driver of economic growth is abysmal for MSMEs throughout Africa. The African Diaspora can also be a platform for driving trade between MSMEs and the US.
This presentation will provides implementable recommendations on policy reforms necessary to harness the contributions of the African Diaspora in expanding and sustaining Africas development.
About the Speaker:
President/CEO, Foundation for Democracy in Africa
Fred Oladeinde is the President and CEO of The Foundation for Democracy in Africa (FDA) www.democracy-africa.org, Fred Oladeinde is a Manager, Advisor, Analyst, and Researcher. His areas of competence include management of programs and personnel; strategic planning; policy formulation and implementation; monitoring and evaluation; and Change Management of organizations.
During his career, he has served as a consultant in various areas related to democracy building, trade development, market linkages, and Agriculture, Food Security and Civil Society Organization development. He has published a wide range of articles in international journals, on democracy, trade, migration, food security, the rural economy, agricultural technology, and other related issues.