Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Mobilizing diasporas investment – A challenge for economic development agencies

on Thursday, July 22nd 2021 à 16:22 | Read 493 times

To attract funds from the diasporas, Mediterranean economic development agencies need to target their searches, as explained by the Anima Investment Network and applied by the FIPA in Tunisia.

Mobilizing diasporas investment – A challenge for economic development agencies

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According to the UN, remittances from overseas workers to families in their home countries “play a counter-cyclical role during periods of slow-down in the receiving countries”. The Organisation estimates that these payments, which help meet household needs as well as support education and entrepreneurship, represent three times the amount of official overseas development aid.

For Emmanuel Noutary, general manager of the Anima Investment Network, "The debate over the diasporas’ involvement often focuses on remittances and their inadequate conversion into business investment. But that is a mistake. These remittances are a social safety net that is used to fund health, education, housing or spending. It has nothing to do with the diasporas’ savings, which often remain in the country of residence.”

For the past 15 years, the association has been helping Mediterranean countries’ governments and agencies in attracting interest from their expatriate communities. "Our ambition is to promote and support more focussed strategies targeting the diasporas’ top talent in order to mobilize their skills, creativity, overseas networks and -where possible- savings, to develop businesses and foster opportunities in the home countries,” stresses Emmanuel Noutary.

The diasporas need recognition from the authorities

With Up Tunisia, Fipa wants to attract Tunisian's talents from abroad investments (photo: Fipa)
With Up Tunisia, Fipa wants to attract Tunisian's talents from abroad investments (photo: Fipa)
"If we are to convince the diasporas to make investments, in particular productive investments, we need to create a climate of trust between the diasporas and the investment agencies in their home countries,” says Zied Lahbib. “The diaspora is in desperate need of recognition from the public authorities and of individualized contacts that take into account both personal profiles and the particular environment in which they are operating overseas”, underlines the general promotion director at the FIPA.

Since 2021, the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency has been working on a dedicated programme entitled “Up Tunisia by FIPA"; "The programme allows Tunisian talent not just to invest in their home country, but it also gives them the tools to work for Tunisia and its economic revival by becoming influencers to attract foreign investment,” outlines Zied Lahbib. "We are targeting investment that brings values and creates wealth, as opposed to investment that only has a minor impact on the country’s economic development (real estate, retail…). This type of high-impact, durable investment brings significant benefits, especially in terms of job creation and upgrading the production apparatus. Also, durable investment is more likely to impact the country’s long-term economic development.

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