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The Development of Diaspora Engagement Policies in Burundi and Rwanda


  • Fransen, Sonja

    () (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University)

  • Siegel, Melissa

    () (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University)


Many countries are currently exploring their diaspora's potential to contribute to local development processes. These countries face numerous challenges in effectively engaging their diasporas such as a lack of experience and resources. Conflict-affected countries, however, face legacies from the past that might challenge diaspora engagement processes. They often also struggle with security issues in the post-conflict phase in addition to these challenges. This chapter compares the diaspora engagement initiatives of two neighbouring countries in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa: Rwanda and Burundi. Both countries recognize the potential of their diasporas, but they are at different stages of diaspora policy development. Results show that Rwanda actively addresses the challenges in reaching out to their diaspora by focusing on diasporic unity and communication between diaspora groups and the Rwanda government. Rwanda has also embedded its Diaspora Policy in its long-term development plan. A lack of data however exists on the effectiveness of these efforts. In contrast, Burundi still needs to create the diasporic institutional environment for its diaspora engagement and diaspora engagement policies. A high level of cooperation should be present between ministries, international organizations and the diaspora to create effective policies. For diaspora engagement initiatives to succeed in conflict-affected societies such as Burundi and Rwanda, however, the most important condition is that the countries' security situations become increasingly stable in the near future.

Suggested Citation

  • Fransen, Sonja & Siegel, Melissa, 2011. "The Development of Diaspora Engagement Policies in Burundi and Rwanda," MERIT Working Papers 038, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2011038

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. World Bank, 2008. "The Migration and Remittances Factbook 2008," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6383, June.
    2. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Måns Söderbom, 2008. "Post-Conflict Risks," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 45(4), pages 461-478, July.
    3. Koser, Khalid & Van Hear, Nicholas, 2003. "Asylum Migration and Implications for Countries of Origin," WIDER Working Paper Series 020, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Hans-Ulrich Derlien & B. Guy Peters, 2008. "Introduction," Chapters,in: The State at Work, Volume 2, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    More about this item


    Burundi; Rwanda; Diapora; Diaspora Engagement; Migration and Development;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance


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