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Nov 4

Diasporic Entrepreneurship

November 4 @ 13h30 - 15h00 CET

About this event

Does migration within and to Africa contribute to more sustainable and inclusive growth on the continent and, if so, to what extent? Do migrant professionals and entrepreneurs occupy specific roles or stimulate the growth of African economies in particular ways? How can policymakers and practitioners harness this knowledge to promote more inclusive growth?

These are just some of the questions the Migration for Inclusive African Growth (MIAG) team have been trying to answer over the past few years. MIAG was inspired by the wave of economic dynamism sweeping Africa and the challenge it presented for how to avoid elite-based, resource-driven growth so as to open opportunities for all in society. The idea of fairer distribution extends beyond just monetary gains to non-monetary aspects, such as improved access to social provision and welfare, infrastructure, services and strengthened and accountable political institutions. This is the concept of Inclusive Growth that, while gaining widespread popularity amongst major development actors such as the OECD, United Nations and the African Development Bank, remains theoretically underdeveloped and empirical studies lacking substantive evidence or concentrate on isolated cases.

Aside from seeking to frame a more robust definition and understanding of Inclusive Growth as both a normative concept and analytical tool, MIAG has examined migration as a specific catalyst for such growth. Flows of international migrants within, and to, the continent have intensified in recent years, but researchers and policy-makers have only recently shifted their gaze away from Global South to North flows, to look at North-South and South-South trajectories.

Join us for this three-part webinar series as members of our team are joined by academics and policymakers to debate and discuss these ideas around inclusive growth and migration, the emerging findings from our four-country study (Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Nigeria), and the implications they hold for migration and growth policy in Africa.


Chair: Dr Linda Adhiambo Oucho, Executive Director, African Migration and Development Policy Centre (AMADPOC)

Panel: Stella Opoku-Owusu, Deputy Executive Director, AFFORD, Tapiwa Mucheri, Economist, Abiola George, PhD Candidate at The Open University (UK)

While research and policy attention on the development role of migrants continues to focus heavily on remittances, there has been increasing recognition that migrants and the diasporas they form can be engines of growth through their entrepreneurship. Such recognition derives primarily from research indicating high levels of entrepreneurship among migrant communities in Europe and North America, and the contribution this has made to local economic dynamism in these regions. Alongside this there has been work highlighting how migrants and diasporans are also able to ‘transfer’ their professional and/or entrepreneurial experience back to their countries of ancestral origin, both by ‘returning’ and by operating transnationally from their country of residence. Most notably, AnnaLee Saxenian has demonstrated the key role of US-based diaspora technology professionals in supporting the development of globally competitive high-tech sectors in China and India. In such ways, migrants and diasporas have come to be seen as having much potential for contributing to and even driving entrepreneurship, innovation and growth at ‘home’.

However, empirical research on this role and the factors that shape its outcomes has remained relatively limited, especially in African contexts. There is a particular dearth of research that takes a comparative perspective, both between different country contexts and in terms of how the contributions of diaspora entrepreneurs to their countries of origin might compare to those of foreign investors and migrant entrepreneurs hailing from elsewhere. MIAG is focused on key questions related to these comparative dimensions, such as whether and to what extent diaspora entrepreneurs have social connections and cultural competencies that advantage them in entering their ‘home’ markets? Are diaspora entrepreneurs able to operate in ways that are more locally embedded and inclusive? And how and with what effects are diaspora entrepreneurs engaged by policy and practice frameworks seeking to promote foreign investment and attract diaspora contributions to growth and development?


November 4
13h30 - 15h00 CET