Leveraging African Diaspora Efforts in Developing their Countries-AfDB, France and IFAD Sign Agreement Establishing Migration and Development Fund

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Tunis, 23 October 2009 – An agreement establishing a multilateral Trust Fund to improve African migrant remittances was signed on Friday, 23 October 2009 in Paris by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, the French government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The agreement was signed by the AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka; the French Immigration, Integration and Cooperative Development Minister, Eric Besson and IFAD’s Director for West and Central Africa, Mohamed Béavogui.

To be managed by the AfDB, the Fund has an initial capital of more than €6 million, and is open to contributions from other donors and institutions. It aims at providing financing to:

  • Enhance knowledge on African migrant remittances through thematic and sectoral studies;
  • Improve regulatory frameworks and transfer conditions with a view to reducing transfer costs;
  • Provide financial products that meet migrant needs and those of  their families;
  • Encourage the continent’s Diaspora to invest in individual productive initiatives and in the development of their countries of origin.

The French immigration minister underscored the importance of the Fund in the implementation of development projects in Africa. He paid tribute to the AfDB, adding in particular, that “for France, the AfDB is, through its identity, its legitimacy on the continent, its robust financial situation, its leadership and its determination to reform, the continent’s donor of choice.”  He added that “I am pleased that the agreement we have signed is a new sign of sustainable support that France looks to providing to the AfDB.”

Noting France’s contribution to the creation of the Fund, Mr Kaberuka underscored the need “to exploit the synergies and to increase the effectiveness” of AfDB interventions and those of its partners “in the best interest of the countries and that of the beneficiaries.” The AfDB, he stressed, is “committed to providing support and helping efforts by the continent’s Diaspora to contribute to development efforts in their countries of origin.”

Speaking about the fund’s functioning, he said that “it is not an additional fund, but a real economic development instrument” for the continent.

The event was attended by some 80 African, European, American and Middle-East ambassadors to France.

The Bank Group has, since 2006, been committed to migrant remittances. The study conducted by the AfDB and financed by the French government that was presented in Paris in January 2008, served as the basis for the launching of the Migration and Development Initiative. This has resulted in increased demand on the Bank. In October 2008, following a call for tenders to development finance institutions by French Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Development Ministry, the AfDB was selected and asked to host a new multi-donor trust fund designed to mobilise resources and skilled African migrants to support sustainable efforts by their countries of origin.

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