The economic potential of the diaspora is greater than investments

Although the official statistics on the number of our people abroad are not harmonized, there is no dispute about the economic potential of the diaspora - thanks to remittances, about three billion euros entered Serbia last year alone. According to the World Bank, in the previous decade, the diaspora sent 3 to 3.7 billion euros a year to the motherland, which is 50% more than the average inflow of foreign investments. Directing these funds to donations and starting a business would significantly accelerate Serbia's economic growth.

Most of the money, almost 30%, comes from Germany, about 15% from Switzerland and 8.5% from Austria. That is why providing a platform through which people would donate or invest in selected projects is one of the effective solutions to support the communities they came from – these are the conclusions of the webinar "Diaspora & Donations", organized by NALED with association Loud Crowd, within the project "Alternative Funding and Donations for Local Communities in Serbia". The project was made possible by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the German-Serbian Initiative for Sustainable Growth and Employment.

- German development cooperation has recognized the importance of NALED's platform for donations, which was developed at the beginning of the pandemic, enabling NALED and its members to generate support in the amount of 250,000 euros for 41 local governments in just over a month. Among other things, donations included 55 tons of food for 11,000 households, 67 computers, as well as medical and protective equipment. Such platform can connect local communities that need help, with businesses and individuals from the country and abroad who can provide assistance, whether it is about financial resources or in-kind donations in products and services - said Violeta Jovanovic, NALED Executive Director.

- Through alternative and group funding / crowdfunding platforms, the diaspora can help a local health institution, fund the renovation of a local museum or equip space for young entrepreneurs, help environmental projects such as afforestation or river cleaning, support artists or invest in new start-ups and good business ideas. With this project, we want to map the potential for cooperation and identify barriers to greater investment by the diaspora, as well as to strengthen local governments and NGOs to design and offer quality projects - said Daniela Funke, Director of GIZ Serbia.

The webinar participants pointed out that building trust and cooperation between the diaspora and the motherland is an important step, and the state has already made progress in creating the first draft of the Action Plan for Economic Migration, which envisages simplification of procedures for sending foreign remittances and establishing a platform for diaspora donations by 2023.

Current research shows that the diaspora usually donates to individuals - poor and seriously ill people through escrow accounts, SMS or foundations. On the other hand, there is a lack of trust in donating through state institutions due to insufficient transparency and fear that the money will not go into the right hands.



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