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Is The Caribbean Diaspora A Real Source For Investment?

Is The Caribbean Diaspora A Real Source For Investment?

Posted by Shanelle Weir on March 31, 2014

Nationals from the Caribbean region and those of Caribbean heritage living outside the region number millions even though there is no accurate count of the total number. There's no better demonstration of their presence than the huge flow of funds that are remitted each year from prosperous nations to poorer ones, particularly the Caribbean and Latin America.

For this reason, a World Bank Specialist insists that this group represents a great market that regional governments can target for investment dollars.

Qahir Dhanani, private sector development specialist of the World Bank Group, says: "The Caribbean Diaspora represents a welcome market for making investments and contributing to growth and development." "Given the intimate knowledge they have about the opportunities back home, Diasporas are best place to take advantage of these opportunities and make an impact," added Dhanani, who will be part of a featured interview on 'The Caribbean Diaspora: A Real Source For Investment?' at Invest Caribbean Now 2014.

Dhanani recently co-authored the study: 'The Caribbean Diaspora: A source for venture investment?,' with Mina J. Lee. In it they conclude that there is investment interest towards both specific Caribbean countries and sectors by the members of the Caribbean Diaspora who "can indeed play an important role in the Caribbean region's development story." But they both warn it will require leadership to lower barriers to engagement, facilitation of structured opportunities and an increase in information transparency.

Dhanani will be joined in the session by Leigh Moran, manager, International Diaspora Engagement Alliance" or "IdEA," a partnership of the US State Department and USAID, where the interviewer will be Irwine Clare, advisory board member of the Jamaica Diaspora USA, NE & CEO of the Caribbean Immigrant Services. Moran's company, the Calvert Foundation, has recently taken over management of the 'IdEA' and launched a Diaspora bond that allows for nationals in the Diaspora to make tangible yet minimal socio-economic investments in their homelands.

Diaspora bonds are essentially a form of government debt that targets members of the national community abroad, based on the presumption that their emotional ties to a country make investing in such products worthwhile. Sales can be restricted solely to members of a particular nationality or opened to all buyers, with nationals receiving a preferential rate.

Invest Caribbean Now, the brainchild of Hard Beat Communications CEO Felicia Persaud, is committed to advancing wealth in the Caribbean. ICN matches investors with projects in the Caribbean while bringing investors to the region and introducing them to sustainable investment opportunities there.

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