First and foremost, we would like to thank God for his blessings. Because of him we were able to finish this thesis without being ill, or face any obstacles. We thank him for the gift of life, health and all life opportunities.
Then our special gratitude goes to our supervisor Osman Farah. Thanks to your guidance we were able to stay focused, structured and motivated. Because of your patience with reading over and over, several drafts we sent you, we got and learned so much from your comments and that helped us a lot into doing our best. We found our inspiration in your words of encouragement, and faith in us. Thank you for not getting tired of our questions and taking time to correct us where we were short. Thank you for everything Mr. Farah and may God bless you abundantly.
We would also like to thank our parents for their support and always encourage us to be the best. It is because of them we are here on the first place. Thank you, Dr. and Mrs. A.B. Kipanga and Mr. and Mrs. Takang. We are very blessed to have you in our lives.
Finally, we thank our partners, siblings and friends for their support and helping us in one way or another with our thesis.
Thank you Mrs. Linda Tiku Ayuk.
Alfred Ayuk and Rehema Kipanga.
LISTS OF ABREVIATIONS
AFFFORD -Africa Forum For Development
AHEAD -Association for Higher Education and Development.
ASEAN- Association of South East Asia Nations.
BASCUDa -Bali Area Social, Cultural and Development Association.
CReAM-Center for Research and Analysis of Migration.
DAAD -German Academic Exchange Service
E U-The European Union
FDI-Foreign Direct Investment.
FIELD-Forum International for Ethiopians Living in the Diaspora.
In recent years, policy makers, governments, development practitioners and academia have developed unprecedented interest in the relationship between Diaspora and development in migration source countries. This thesis considers the Diaspora – development nexus for Africa with a focus on Ghana and Ethiopia as case study. As a point of departure, this thesis argues that even though African Diaspora is making enormous contribution to the development process, especially through remittances, trade and investment, its impact still remains minimal in terms of homeland development. African Diaspora has so far been unable to do what the Indian and Chinese Diasporas have done for the development of their homelands. That being the case, this thesis seeks for explanations to this paradox. This leads to the research question: Why is it that African Diasporas’ contribution to homeland development has had little impact?
After presenting a brief historical overview of African Diasporas, this thesis defines the key concepts of Diaspora, transnationalism and development; and establishes a correlation between these concepts. The discussion then proceeds to consider the reasons why the developmental contribution of African Diasporas is having little impact on their homelands. It analyzes the reasons from three perspectives, that is, from an international perspective, national perspective and historical perspective. In the conclusion the thesis will evaluate the extent to which the problem question was solved and what findings were discovered.
In recent times, the Diaspora and homeland development discussions have been in spotlight of many scholars and development practitioners due to the potentials seen in their capacity and ability to develop homeland. However as Chukwu says below, Diaspora should not be considered as instruments but rather should be understood as partners in development.
“Diaspora are not instruments to achieve governmental aims but potential partners to engage in dialogue, seek common ground & achieve shared objectives.”
(Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie, 2005)
The formation of African Diaspora started long before the transnational globalized world. It goes back to the period of slavery in the times of colonization when slaves were taken to other countries to work in mines, plantations and so forth. In other words, African Diaspora came as the result of the Trans-Saharan, Trans-Atlantic and Indian Ocean slave trades. In later period, Diaspora formation grew due to global political and economic dominance which forced people to migrate to economically wealthy countries in search for opportunities, better education and better life. Besides, it is also noted that, other Africans left their countries of origin to settle abroad due to reasons such as poverty, natural disasters, civil wars and political instability, family reunification and employment transfer. Different from the Pre- 19th and 19th century immigrants, the 20th and 21st century immigrants are more exposed to rapid communication growth, transportation hence make their communication with homeland easy and accessible. This came as the result of evolution of globalization.
A common feature of globalization in recent times has been the increasing movement of people around the world. Discoveries in communication technologies and great improvement in transport facilities, have transformed the world into a global village. People can travel easily around the world within the shortest time possible to and from different countries and regions, motivated by diverse factors that range from the search for better living conditions, the search for security to taking advantage of economic opportunities. It remains an undeniable fact, as Xing and Opoku-Mensah assert that “people are more transnational today than at any other time in history, and successful economic development[…] depends on human capital crossing borders”(Xing and Opoku-Mensah, 2008:1).
One of the consequences has been mass migration of Africans to the rich countries in the Northern hemisphere especially to Europe and North-America. Over a long period of time, this has led to the emergence of a very large African Diaspora in the Northern hemisphere. That is in Europe and North –America.
However, it should be noted that globalization is not the sole factor that led to the formation of African Diaspora. This only led to the re-emergence of them. In fact, the formation of Diaspora started long before the transnational globalized world. It goes back to the period of slavery in the times of colonization when slaves were taken to other countries to work in mines, plantations and so forth. In other words, African Diaspora came as the result of the Trans-Saharan, Trans-Atlantic and Indian Ocean slave trades. It was only in recent time that Diaspora formation grew due to global political and economic dominance which forced people to migrate to economically wealthy countries in search for opportunities, better education and better life. This group of Diaspora is what scholars have called “contemporary Diaspora”. This group of Diaspora has arouse interest among many scholars, academia and development practitioners due to the special links they have with countries of origin and homeland development.
Due to the potential roles they play in development of their countries of origin, the ‘contemporary Diaspora’, has gained a lot of attention among scholars, development practitioners, analysts as well as policy makers. For instance, according to Ninna Nyberg Sørensen, The Global Development Finance Annual Report in the year 2003, showed that around US$100 billion was registered as flow of remittances to developing countries in 2004 ( Sørensen, 2007).
Furthermore, research has shown that, Diaspora is much more involved in the development of their homelands through remittances, investments and contribution of skills and ideas. This is partly due to the interconnectedness of the world today and the impact of globalization which forces countries to open borders hence opening opportunities for everyone who can reach out.
1.1 The Aims and Objectives.
The objective of this thesis is to develop an understanding of the roles Diaspora play in the development of their homelands as well as obstacles and challenges encountered thus make their contribution having little impacts on homeland development. By using different sources, this thesis further aims to provide an overview of policies that homeland governments have embraced as supporting partners of their Diasporas.
In order to get a grip on the above mentioned issues, we find it important to look at the historical background of African Diaspora, their involvements in the homeland’s socio-economic activities as well as their homeland’s state’s policies and support for them. The thorough understanding of these issues will guide us to answers to our problem question.
1. 2 Problem Formulation.
For a long time governments, policy makers, development practitioners and scholars paid little attention to the role African Diaspora play in the development of their countries of origin. Rather, the general attitude they had was to emphasize how immigration had a negative impact on the economies of these countries as it led to what they termed as ‘brain drain’ and shortage in human resources. This was based on the belief that once immigrants left their homelands, there was a tendency to be almost completely cut off from the homeland and thereby depriving the source countries of the immigrants’ contribution to its development. Oliver Bakewell, in “Diaspora and development” argues that in the past, immigrants often forgot about their families, friends and their home countries once they were settled in the host countries. This was compounded by communication difficulties prior to the 1990s.Little or nothing was said about the positive side of immigration even for the economies of SSA (Bakewell 2009:2).This argument by Bakewell gives credence to the early lack of interest in the developmental role of diasporas.
However, in recent times there has been a change of attitude in relation to the Diaspora – development discourse especially as far as African Diaspora is concerned. This came as a result of the fact that African Diaspora has been more involved in various socio-economic, cultural and political activities of their home countries through remittances, ideas, skills, investment and transfer of technology. Governments, development practitioners, NGOs and academia have become very interested in this new source of development financing for African countries. Presently, in Sub-Sahara Africa for instance, African Diaspora is seen to be a potential source of development financing that could compliment Official Development Assistance (ODA). For example in 2005 the Bank of Ghana estimated the level of remittances at US$1.5 billion compared to US$ 479 million in 1999. This amount surpassed FDI and ODA to Ghana and more than 1/3 of Ghana’s GDP (Quartey, 2009: 68). As for Ethiopia, it is estimated that, in the year 2009 Ethiopian Diaspora transferred about UD$ 393 million to Ethiopia.
Nevertheless, African diasporas, whether individually or collectively in their groups, while developing wealth of experiences through their activities in homeland development, have had to encounter different challenges from host and home land. The assumption is that this newly discovered source of development financing should have development benefit in Africa, but according to different sources such as the WB and OECD, it does not work as effective as for instance the Chinese Diaspora does. So why is that the case and why are there setbacks for the African Diaspora in development of homeland? Why can African Diaspora’s contribution to homeland development not impact Africa’s economy as the Chinese, Indians and Jewish Diaspora have done? While trying to understand such “difference” this thesis aims at finding out:
Why is it that African Diasporas’ contribution to homeland development has had little impact so far?
In the search for answers to the above mentioned problem statement, this thesis will examine the following questions:
Why and how are they involved in development activities?
What are the policies formulated and implemented by the Africa’s Diaspora’s countries of origin to involve their Diasporas?
What are the challenges and obstacles African Diaspora face in trying to contribute to homeland’s development?
In order to such these questions, the section below will explain more on the methodology selected and give reasons to the choice of particular selected methodology.
A lot of literature has been written on the subject of African Diaspora and development with various writers looking at the subject from different angles. Some have looked at African Diaspora associations in host lands, For instance Claire Mercer (2008), others focused on African Diaspora as agents of transnational politics example Terrence Lyons (2008), while others such as Pirkkalainen et al. (2009) focused on African Diaspora as source of Conflicts in their homelands. In this thesis the point of focus is finding reasons as to why African diasporas’ (Ghanaian and Ethiopian) contribution to homeland development has had little impact so far.
In order to find these reasons, this thesis will use analytical approach. By this approach it means that we will entirely rely on secondary sources (journals, books, news papers, articles and online resource) to analyze concepts and arguments made by other writers, construct our own ideas and use evidence from different sources to support them. It also implies that the thesis will evaluate other analysts’ opinions, arguments and discuss them in a balanced manner. We have chosen this approach because it is time independent, that is to say, it will enable us to gather as much information as possible regardless of time. Moreover, it will enable us to directly deal with specific information relevant to our work and examine them from different perspectives.
For a deeper analysis, this thesis will use a case study methodology where by Ghana and Ethiopia are the cases to be used. The reason for this choice is because this methodology is ideal for a holistic investigation as also supported by Feagin, Orum and Sjoberg (Feagin et al., 1991). Additionally, by using the two case studies Ghanaian and Ethiopian Diaspora, will help this thesis maximize the use of time in the sense that it allows a maximum concentration on the two selected cases thus ultimately gain more knowledge in a course of short time. Again, these countries represent two different regions, that is, the West and East of Africa, so that also rises interest of ‘varieties’ such as the fact that one having not been colonized while the other (Ghana) been through colonization; one with history of numerous conflicts while the other with history of stability. Therefore, just these facts, will reflect on the different perceptions these diasporas have of their homelands.
Furthermore, this thesis will also make use of theories. This is because these theories will help us explain the reality based on their assumptions. It is through the core arguments of these theories that this thesis will structure its arguments, explanations and analysis. In this light, world system and modernization theories shall be used.
As stated in the previous section, Diaspora is a relatively new area of interest in the development studies and attracted much attention after the end of the cold war. Most of Diaspora studies and research were conducted after this period. However, this does not mean that there were no Diasporas before then, but rather they became more prominent from this period. That being the case and due to data available, this thesis will focus on the period from the 1960s to date. This choice of time limit is due to the fact that, most of the African Diaspora groups who left after this period, could easily connect with countries of origin as they have a clear memory of where they come from unlike those who were taken in time of slavery.
Additionally, for the purpose of being more current, most data in this thesis will be taken from the 1990s to date. The choice of this time limit considers factors like globalization. Although as other scholars have argued that, globalization phenomenon was there even before the cold war, but the effects were highly experienced after it. The effects of globalization on communication and information technology enhanced Diaspora to keep in touch with their families in their homelands. This connection helped them embrace their cultures, identity and ties even when they are in foreign lands. Therefore, they became more integrated and involved in homeland activities.
Important to note is that this thesis does not primarily aim to look at what have the Diaspora done or not done yet, but rather to look at the constraints which make what they have done have little impacts in the transformation of their countries of origin. In this regard, the following theoretical framework will shape and structure explanations and analysis.
1.5 Theoretical framework.
African Diaspora and development is an emergent field of study with a special focus on immigrants who, though migrate from poor to rich countries manage to construct and nurture social and economic field which ultimately link them with their homelands from their new Diaspora locations (Patterson,2006). It is from this relationship that the African Diaspora have been regarded as agents of development.
Other scholars have gone as far as perceiving African Diaspora and possible and new emerging paradigm in development discourse. It is from such important recognition that some states have established specific policies to integrate their Diaspora into national development. However, in the case of African countries, these initiatives have so far not been very successful as those in China for instance (Xing & Opoku-Mensah, 2010). Xing and Mensah have further argued that, various conditions should be considered under which African Diaspora can meaningfully impact development process of their homelands. Among those condition is the structural location of African Diaspora in host land and perception of development, that is to say, how they perceive development. Therefore in this regard, this thesis will use world system theory which better explains structural location of African Diaspora in the world system and modernization theory which also better explains undeveloped and weak government institutions may impact the process of development of a country
The world system theory will help to explain how the structural location of African countries in the world system acts as an obstacle limiting the extent to which African Diaspora can contribute to the development of their homeland(Patterson 2006; Xing & Opoku-Mensah 2010:109). Recent studies have shown that, Diaspora are taken to be informal representatives of their homelands in host countries and their usefulness to the homeland depend on the position they occupy as well as the level of their achievement attained in host countries. . This theory is also useful in our thesis discourse as it is from this theory that explanations to the structural position of countries (and Diaspora communities) in the world system determines opportunities and capabilities. Therefore, the position of African Diaspora in this regard has a big role to play in determining their achievement, opportunities and capabilities to help homeland. It is also useful as it provides us with a guiding tool to the understanding of development and unequal opportunities across nations, as Wellerstein puts it “individual societies or nation states cannot be understood without reference to the world-system in which they are embedded” (Wallerstein, 1976).
Another theory that has highly been used in development discourse is Modernization theory. In this thesis this theory will be useful in explaining how African governments' institutions are considered to be undeveloped and lack capacity to harness meaningful the development potential of their Diaspora and how this impact development of their countries.
Furthermore, we found it necessary to look at concepts of globalization, transnationalism and development as they play an important role in enhancing the links and connections that African Diaspora maintain with their homelands. Through advanced technology, transport and communication, the African Diaspora is able to send remittances, invest in their homelands and transfer ideas thus contribute to development process of their homelands.
1.6 Difficulties encountered while collecting data.