Expatriate populations often play a crucial role by ensuring the survival of their families who have stayed behind. Diaspora communities not only send money to their relatives at home, they may also, in some situations, invest or get involved in productive projects in their home countries. As a matter of fact, their resources can play a key role in development.
Against such a background, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) mandated Philippe Gazagne, researcher at the Global Migration Centre, for a consultancy that assessed the capabilities of Sri Lankan migrants (as well as the obstacles they face) to invest productively in Sri Lanka. In particular, it considered how migrants living in Switzerland contributed to their country of origin, using their experience, knowledge and capital acquired abroad.
There have been longstanding debates about the impact of remittances by migrants, being invested “only” in health, education and housing and not in productive sectors of local economies. The consultancy analysed the use of remittances by Sri Lankan migrants and assessed the impact on employment and income generation in Sri Lanka, either directly or indirectly. It further explored the Diasporas capacity and motivations to get involved in productive activities and employment generation in their home country. The study also explored what role could have the SDC in facilitating or supporting these processes.