IOM Facilitates Discussions among the SADC Member States to Unlock the Full Potential of Diaspora Skills for Member States' Development

Windhoek – The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), with support from the European Union-funded project “Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM)”, is holding a regional workshop on diaspora engagement and mapping toolkit in Windhoek, Namibia from May 30 to June 1, 2023. The workshop will enhance national technical and institutional mechanisms from the 15 SADC member States for effective diaspora engagement and mapping

IOM’s Diaspora Mapping Toolkit offers practical guidance and tools for stakeholders involved in diaspora mapping and engagement for development. It promotes a bottom-up approach to building an effective and sustainable system, and provides specific methodological approaches and tools for Southern Africa.

“This workshop marks another milestone in our collective efforts to enhance diaspora engagement,” said Mr Ashraf El Nour, IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa, at the opening ceremony. “By sharing best practices, experiences, and expertise, we aim to build the capacity of SADC member states to effectively harness the potential of their diaspora communities”.

Despite the progress that has been made by the SADC Member States in the diaspora engagement, some gaps still exist in mapping their diaspora, leading to limited understanding of the spread, skills and profiles of the diaspora communities. This effort will use IOM's diaspora mapping toolkit to help build institutional and technical capacity for effective mapping. The workshop complements the recommendations of the regional diaspora and investment forum held in Mauritius in 17 – 19 October 2022, which focused on empowering the diaspora for regional development.

“Migration has been proved to be a fast path to reducing poverty not only for the diaspora but also for families left behind through remittances” said Ambassador Penda Naanda, Executive Director, Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation. “Therefore, the Governments of the SADC Member States need to facilitate the flow of remittances by reducing the cost of remitting money, he concludes”.

IOM, the United Nation Development Funds (UNDP), and the African Union Commission (AUC), have set up a diaspora framework program to use diaspora-related resources for national, regional, and continental development. Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Member States are increasingly interested in engaging with their diaspora communities to develop the region and make productive use of remittance income.

For more information please contact Tunde Omoyeni (SAMM Project Coordinator) at and Florence Situmbeko (HoO IOM Namibia) at