Tanzania government has been urged to create favorable conditions for the Diaspora, including policies which would enable them to contribute to the development of the country.
This was an appeal emerging from the Breakfast Debate entitled: “Migration and Development in Tanzania: What should Diaspora engagement look like?” that was organised by Policy Forum.
Presenting on migration and development in Tanzania, Catherine Matasha of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that the Diaspora can be key partners for development by harnessing the power of their private remittances which have the potential to contribute to job creation and entrepreneurship.
She said in 2013, for example, Migrants remitted 404 billion USD to the developing world, three times the amount of money given in Official Development Aid (ODA).
“The estimated 3 million Tanzanian migrants living abroad remitted a modest 75 million dollars in 2013. In comparison, the Kenyan Diaspora remitted 1.4 billion dollars, while Ugandans living abroad accounted for approximately one billion dollars in remittances in the same year,” she said when specifically describing the East African region.
On their part, Ms Linda H. Sekei and Charles Mrema of the Development Pioneer Consultants said that currently IOM is financing a project, entitled ‘Enhancing the Migration Evidence Base for the Development of Tanzania’ to support the government’s efforts to enhance emigration management through improved policies and Diaspora engagement strategies. Central components of this project are the development of a Tanzanian migration profile and mapping migration trends in Tanzania to allow for better policy making. Another component is the establishment of a web portal which will facilitate networking and information sharing between members of the Diaspora.
They added that despite the high levels of mobility in Tanzania, there is not enough data to determine the nature and developmental impact of migration in Tanzania. Therefore in order to develop effective migration policies and ensure their coherence with other policy areas, policymakers need a comprehensive and reliable knowledge base. Migration profiles fulfill this need, they stated.
“It is assumed that a large number of Tanzanians are living abroad but there is little knowledge on the composition of the diaspora, including their profiles, skills, and numbers,” they stressed. They further suggested that a website designed particularly to facilitate contacts and communication between Tanzanians living abroad and the Government will offer resources for diaspora to become involved in Tanzania, including job skills matching.
A substantial number of the Tanzanian diaspora live in the East Africa Community (EA) and other neighboring countries. Other leading countries hosting Tanzanian Diaspora include; the UK, USA, Canada, Scandinavian countries, South Africa, Oman, Australia and China, to mention a few.