The value of overseas nationals to development

| February 26, 2013
Dr Adrian Johnson

Someone asked the other day, can a country truly benefit from its overseas nationals? The answer is that it can; and apart from remittances, nationals can assist in wealth-creation whilst supporting the improvement in the overall well-being of disadvantaged citizens suffering from the effects of structural adjustment to national economies.

In the developing world or emerging democracies in Africa, South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean particularly, sending money ‘back home’ often represents over a third of all domestic earnings or the GDP.
So then, should we use remittances only as an instrument to help our respective homelands?
Some argue that transferring money is helpful to non-working, sick or frail family-relatives, friends or very young people (who can’t ‘fend for themselves’).
Seal on

Arriving to serve. Can you guess who this is?  Photo courtesy

Yet such a charitable gesture can also convey the wrong impression to more able-bodied residents who become ‘spoilt for choice’. Besides money-transfers, we should explore the idea of a viable (external) Skills Investment Development (SID) program.
This program will help to raise the bar of credibility among overseas nationals residing over a generation in lands they often describe as either their `adopted’ or ‘new home’. (Next time we will look at some of the main reasons for setting up a Skills Investment Development program).
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