Port-Louis, June 14, 2012 — A two-days High Level Forum (HLF) titled Harnessing Diaspora Resources for Development in Africa opened today in Bagatelle, Mauritius (June 14th and 15th, 2012). This event gathers more than fifty representatives of African government officials, development partners, private sector stakeholders and experts from several continents, who will have an opportunity to capitalize on many practical actions taken to harness Diaspora resources. Officially, recorded remittance flows to Sub Saharan Africa exceeded US$22 billion in 2011.
This event is co-organized by the World Bank's Africa Region through its African Diaspora Program (ADP) and the Government of Mauritius, with a financial contribution of the European Commission (EC) through the African Institute for Remittances (AIR) project. "This high-level forum will give us a chance to work with global stakeholders to identify strategies for Diaspora mobilization and engagement that are best suited to Africa and Africans in the Diaspora. We hope that by working together, we will be able to generate some innovative approaches to leveraging the African Diaspora's energy and talents," says Dr. Kofi Anani, the World Bank's Task Team Leader for the HLF.
The HLF is one of three mutually reinforcing preparatory events towards the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) summit that will take place in Port-Louis in November 2012. The overarching theme for this summit is "Enhancing the human development of migrants and their contributions to the development of communities and states".
Since January 2012, Mauritius is the Chair of the GFMD, and is the first African country to assume this responsibility. The Mauritian government has been using its chairmanship of this organization to further promote inter-African dialogue on migration and development, including the important role the Diaspora can play in Africa. According to Ali Mansoor, Financial Secretary of the Republic of Mauritius and current GFMD Chair, "When we are talking about Diaspora, we have to think practically why people left, and what can make them return. It is more about working on systems and procedures than about working on individuals".
"Members of the African diaspora are playing a role in helping their homelands develop, and African countries have begun efforts to tap the skills and resources of emigrants and their offsprings. These contributions include remittances, trade and investment, and transfer of skills and technology" explains Otaviano Canuto, Vice President and Head of Network Poverty Reduction and Economic Management at The World Bank.