Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

New DIIS Brief by Oliver Bakewell challenges the current diaspora and development hype

Today there is great interest in diasporas’ role in development across Africa and much enthusiasm for identifying policies that can maximise their contribution. In this new DIIS (Danish Institute for International Studies) Brief Oliver Bakewell, senior research officer at the International Migration Institute, University of Oxford, raises four questions that challenge uncritical enthusiasm for diasporas’ increased involvement in development: 1) Who is in the diaspora? 2) Where is the diaspora? 3) How does diaspora engagement affect accountability? And 4) What ideas of development are being used?

The Brief critically explores these questions. It offers a concise working definition of diaspora, arguing that not all expatriate populations can—or should—be defined as such. Furthermore, the Brief points to the risk of co-option of diasporas into the established development industry, reproducing similar initiatives under diaspora leadership, rather than sustaining their distinctiveness. Finally, it urges African states to avoid privileging the priorities and activities of their mobile expatriate populations above those people who remain within their borders.
 
The Brief was presented at the seminar ‘Agents of Change? African Diaspora Organizations and Homeland Development’, held at DIIS April 3, 2009. This was the second seminar in the DIIS Migration Seminar serial ‘Revisiting the Migration-Development Nexus: visions, challenges and prospects’. For more information about the seminars, see www.diis.dk/migrationseminars.

Download the working DISS brief

Similar stories

Working Paper: Immigration policy effects – A conceptual framework

Liv Bjerre provides a conceptual framework for the analysis of immigration policy effects by arguing that immigration policies have varying effects on different categories of immigrants whether they are regular immigrants, asylum seekers or irregular immigrants

Return Migration in Africa

IMI Researcher, Dr. Marie-Laurence Flahaux together with Dr. Bruno Shoumaker and Dr. Thierry Eggerickx edit a new issue of 'Space, Populations, Societies' which seeks to explore the understudied aspects of return migration in Africa

Working Paper: Hopes and fears of migrants’ contribution to political change, a Tunisian case study

Marieke van Houte explores complexities of political change in relation to mobility and immobility through a fascinating Tunisian case study that challenges conventional notions that transnational political engagements contribute to democratization

Exploring domestic & diasporic non-government responses to the Liberian Ebola Crisis

New article published in the academic journal, African Affairs by IMI Senior Research Officer Robtel Neajai Pailey

Legal invisibility was the best thing to happen to me

Senior Research Officer Robtel Neajai Pailey shares her experience of living as an undocumented migrant in the US for 14 years in a remarkable piece for Al Jazeera

Call for papers for new journal Migration and Society

The first issue of the journal focuses on Hospitality and hostility towards migrants: Global perspectives