Kaberuka Calls for a More Efficient Channeling of Diaspora Remittances

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  • According to an AfDB study, remittances from the African Diaspora stand between 14 and 17 billion dollars a year
  • Diaspora remittances account for 750% of ODA for some countries

At the end of his official visit to Mali, the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Donald Kaberuka, made a strong call for a more efficient channeling of Diaspora remittances to the continent.

According to a Bank Group study, Diaspora remittances to the continent stand between US$ 14 billion and US$ 17 billion per year. In Mali’s case, where 3.5 million out of 4 million of its expatriates live in Africa, remittances from the Malian Diaspora in France made through official channels reached CFAF 120 billion, which is comparable to the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the country. For other countries such as Morocco, Senegal and the Comoros, Diaspora remittances respectively account for 750 %, 218 % and 346 % of ODA, says the AfDB study.

The report however indicates that the impact of these large sums is limited by the high remittance costs (on average €19 for €100). This therefore discourages the continent’s Diaspora from using official money transfer channels. President Kaberuka used the occasion to express the Bank Group’s determination to support African countries to better channel Diaspora remittances. "The Diaspora is increasingly playing an important role given the size and stability of its remittances," he said, adding that "what should be done now is to engage the Diaspora in the development of its country by eliminating the constraints that hinder remittances which constitute a huge complement to funds provided by donors."

While in Mali to attend a meeting on the replenishment of the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group, Mr. Kaberuka also called on the international community to increase its support to African countries, with special emphasis on regional integration and post-conflict countries. Discussions during the meeting, he said, were moving in the right direction and were holding out a lot of hope for the continent.

Mr. Kaberuka also used the ADF replenishment negotiations to visit Mali from September 22-23. He was invited by Malian President, Amadou Toumani Touré.