IOM participates in Tanzania's first-ever Diaspora Conference

Date Published: 
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

“It is both necessary and desirable that governments have policies in place to maximize the positive relationship between migration and development, through engagement with the diaspora.” urged IOM Tanzania’s Chief of Mission, Mr. Damien Thuriaux at Tanzania’s first-ever Diaspora Conference. Mr. Thuriaux, who was invited to speak at the Conference, due to IOM’s vast experience in implementing Diaspora engagement programmes in Tanzania and the wider region, stated that the preparations for a Tanzanian National Policy on Diaspora and current leadership efforts to promote dual citizenship are encouraging. The estimated 3 million Tanzanian migrants living abroad remitted a modest 75 million dollars in 2013. In comparison the Kenyan diaspora remitted 1.4 billion dollars, while Ugandans living abroad accounted for approximately one billion dollar in remittances in the same year.  

The Diaspora Homecoming Conference, the first-ever of its kind in Tanzania, took place on the 14th and 15th of August at the Serena Hotel in Dar es Salaam and was organized by the Tanzania Diaspora Initiative in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAIC) and the Prime Minister’s Office. The event gave the Tanzanian diaspora the opportunity to engage with government representatives, the private sector and other stakeholders with the purpose of creating an inclusive agenda for the diaspora to engage in national development. Tanzania’s President Jakaye Kikiwete, gave a welcoming speech in which he stressed the importance of the diaspora as significant contributors to the country’s development through remittances and investment.   

Migration for development is one of IOM’s core areas of work globally and IOM is committed to the principle that migration can have a positive impact on development, if properly managed. Migrants’ private remittances have the potential to contribute to poverty reduction, the development of the health and education sector, improved financial sector access, or job creation and entrepreneurship. In 2013 Migrants remitted 404 billion USD to the developing world, three times the amount of money given in Official Development Aid (ODA).

In Tanzania, IOM has implemented several projects aimed at diaspora engagement, working closely with MFAIC. The 2011 project ‘National Diaspora Framework’, resulted in MFAIC establishing a designated Diaspora and Engagement Opportunities Department. Currently IOM is financing a project, entitled ‘Enhancing the Migration Evidence Base for the Development of Tanzania.’ Through this project and the good partnership with MFAIC, IOM is supporting the government to enhance emigration management through improved policies and diaspora engagement strategies. Central components of this project are the development of a Tanzanian migration profile, mapping migration trends in Tanzania to allow for better policy making, as well as the setting up of a web portal, which will facilitate networking and information sharing between members of the diaspora. In addition, IOM has conducted workshops for stakeholders on diaspora engagement and facilitated a training on women and diaspora.

Mr. Thuriaux concluded by stressing that he is looking forward to the second diaspora conference scheduled for next year where he hopes we can already identify clear progress made on these issues.

 For more information please contact:

Ms. Mia Immelback
Programme Officer - Migration and Development