Diaspora for Development in Africa is quite an interesting read, as it is based on papers selected from a conference on Diaspora and Development that was organized by the World Bank in 2009. In addition, many chapters, although relating to the African diaspora and its lasting effects, do not specifically mention the African diaspora. The first part of the book is an overview rather than an actual chapter, and I will not be discussing it due to both lack of space in this essay as well as the fact that should I do my job well, this essay should serve as a more detailed overview of the text.
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The first chapter, titled “Diasporas of the South: Situation the African Diaspora in Africa” was written by Jonathan Crush. As the opening of the book, this chapter argues what the African diaspora is exactly – that is, a “spatially inclusive definition… that encompasses all migrants of African origin with a development-related “interest” wherever they live so long as they are outside their country of origin” (56). In other words, every individual with African roots not currently residing in their “original” country is considered to be a part of the African diaspora. It is very important to note that this definition includes those migrants who remain in Africa, but in countries different from that which they originated from. Aside from setting the definition of the African diaspora, Crush’s chapter also discusses reasons for the revised definition of the African diaspora (which encompasses African migrants living within other countries in Africa), discusses South Africa and how it is a both a major African migrant country of origin and destination, compares the African diaspora in South Africa to the South African diaspora outside South Africa, and reflects on why exactly the South African case study is relevant for our understanding of the role of the diaspora in African development. Put simply, this chapter defines the African diaspora and provides a knowledge base on the subject that is necessary for the understanding of future chapters. David Leblang composed the next chapter, titled “Another Link in the Chain: Migrant Networks and International Investment”.
This part of the text develops an argument that links migrant networks to cross-national investment and from there derives hypotheses, and discusses the sample, data, and measures used to test these hypotheses before offering conclusions about the hypotheses. As explained by Leblang, the world we live in is increasingly globalized, but the effects of this globalization are anything but equal. The argument presented in this chapter stems from the fact that although we can attribute a percentage of this unequal globalization to the allure that both public and private entities have to investing in countries with stable and liberal economic policies, we cannot ignore the fact that investors are often not completely informed when it comes to considering alternative investment environments (79-80). From this, one can conclude that migrant networks, owed to their specific information about language, customs, culture, and regulations in potential markets, can play a large role in cross-border investment by educating investors about these alternative environments, resulting in the resolution of international hurdles often associated with cross-border investment.
This chapter does not explicitly mention the African diaspora, but instead addresses one of the effects of the event. Entitled “Return Migration and Small Enterprise Development in the Maghreb”, the third chapter, written by Flore Gubert and Christophe J. Nordman, is centered primarily on the African diaspora as it relates to the Middle East and North Africa, concentrating on the subject of return migration to these regions.
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