Diaspora makes a difference in COVID-19 rural recovery

Written by Kholoud EL MORABET

31 May 2021

Diasporas are key players in sustainable development. Their engagement in development programmes and interventions took center stage during a roundtable on diaspora contribution to post COVID-19 rural recovery, organized by the Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Diaspora communities play an important role in countries’ socio-economic development. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted migrants’ contribution to emergency response and post crisis recovery and the importance of engaging diaspora organizations and networks. Diaspora communities are supporting their countries of origin through COVID-19 awareness raising campaigns, knowledge and capital transfer, targeted support to the agricultural sector, and contributions to employment generation in agribusiness.

The roundtable, which took place on 15 April 2021, brought together African diaspora agripreneurs and organizations to discuss the main challenges, solutions and best practices identified in the response to COVID-19.

During the event, six diaspora organizations from Gambia, Somalia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Madagascar and Senegal shared examples of successful projects and initiatives that they are carrying out in support of the respective countries of origin. Their contributions include distribution of hygiene kits, COVID-19 awareness raising campaigns, provision of inputs and food distribution to rural areas, skills development and agriculture training, promotion of online marketplace as well as peer-to-peer learning and exchange of experiences with European farmers.

The last part of the roundtable focused on long-term solutions. In particular, participants outlined specific needs and concrete recommendations. In particular, they  underlined the importance of:: (i) recognizing diaspora organizations’ capacity to reach rural areas; (ii) empowering diaspora organizations as development partners in projects design and implementation; (iii) enhancing coordination and knowledge sharing between diaspora networks and local institutions; (iv) providing technical support to diaspora and families in rural areas of origin through agribusiness skills training, with a focus on women and youth; and (v) creating a database of diaspora-led agribusinesses. In addition, most of the participants proposed the organization of a second roundtable focusing on diaspora women entrepreneurs and/or best practices by region.

The event was organized in the context of the FAO-ADEPT partnership on migration and rural development. Through a Memorandum of Understanding signed on 3 April 2019, the two organizations have joined knowledge and capacity to enhance diaspora contributions to rural poverty reduction.


Link videoFAO-ADEPT video on diaspora response to COVID-19


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