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Zim to benefit from IOM US$5,2m diaspora fund

This was revealed by IOM in a statement released to NewsDay Business on Wednesday.

THE International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has selected Zimbabwe, among eight other countries, to benefit from a US$5, 2 million diaspora investment fund to leverage off their diaspora earnings.

This was revealed by IOM in a statement released to NewsDay Business on Wednesday.

In a statement, IOM said it had teamed up with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and African Union Commission (AUC), they had to implement a US$5,2 million project to strengthen investment, human capital and philanthropic engagement from the diaspora of eight African countries.

“This follows the signing of a protocol agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in December 2023 to support the ‘Streamlining Diaspora Engagement to Catalyse Private Investments and Entrepreneurship for Enhanced Resilience’ (SDE4R) project.

The target countries are The Gambia, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Togo and Zimbabwe, IOM said.

“The project will assist the recipient countries to identify the best methods for effectively mobilising the human and financial capital of the diaspora, either to support socio-economic development by reviving the domestic private sector or recovery from political or humanitarian crisis by leveraging the expertise and networks of diaspora groups,” IOM said.

Lamin Drammeh, AfDB deputy acting division manager financial intermediation and inclusion division, said the design of the project benefited from very close and fruitful collaborations between the bank and IOM.

It also benefited from collaborations with IOM and AUC as well as other domestic specialised stakeholders from the beneficiary countries.

“This multi-country intervention will contribute towards strengthening private sector development, which will foster economic growth as well as socioeconomic resilience in the beneficiary countries, while enhancing business development by leveraging diaspora-oriented financing opportunities and tools and entrepreneurship initiatives,” Drammeh said.

Indications were that the project is further expected to contribute to reinforcing socio-economic resilience of vulnerable populations, particularly women, youth, rural dwellers and forcibly displaced populations.

This is expected to be done through diaspora-related humanitarian, educational, health and other resilience-building support and temporary return of skilled and qualified diaspora members.

AUC citizens and diaspora organisation directorate head of division Angela Naa Afoley underscored the timeliness of the agreement saying it allows them to embark on a journey that promises to bridge the gap between the diaspora and local economies.

This is because such action leveraged off the expertise and capital of both, to catalyse transformative change.

She added that by streamlining processes, reducing barriers and providing strategic support, the SDE4R project would unlock new opportunities for investment, spur entrepreneurial ventures and ultimately enhance the resilience of communities, nations and the continent.

IOM special liaison office director Mariama Cisse Mohamed said the project aligned with her organisation’s mandate to promote socio-economic development through migration.

“As such, IOM will leverage its achievements, tools and methodologies, and existing partnerships with various entities, including the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank, to catalyse the diaspora’s contribution to private sector development and humanitarian action in the target countries,” she said.

In addition to governments of the eight target countries, the project is expected to have 10 000 direct beneficiaries and 40 000 indirect beneficiaries in communities affected by conflict, climate change and other humanitarian and environmental disasters.

IOM noted that the bank approved the SDE4R project on July 4, 2023, with funding from its Transition Support Facility.

"IOM will implement the project over three years with strategic oversight, guidance and advisory from the African Union Commission. This is a concrete example of a humanitarian-development-peace nexus partnership focused on implementation of strategic frameworks and shared priorities,” IOM said.

“An estimated 160 million Africans are in the diaspora; the nearly US$96 billion they remitted to the continent in 2021 far exceeded the US$35 billion in official development assistance that flowed into Africa in the same year.”

Zimbabwe has an estimated diaspora population of over two million, mainly in South Africa and the United Kingdom.


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