Contributions and Counting: Guidance on Measuring the Economic Impact of your Diaspora beyond Remittances

Contributions and Counting: Guidance on Measuring the Economic Impact of your Diaspora beyond Remittances provides guidance for governments and national authorities looking to understand and measure the economic contributions made by their diaspora to their country of origin – that is, contributions beyond financial remittances. These economic contributions include investment, trade, tourism and philanthropy. Contributions and Counting provides users with a structured approach to understanding existing data collection frameworks and how they can be modified to isolate foreign capital inflows made by the diaspora through the aforementioned channels. Data generated from this exercise can be utilized to make more precise policy interventions and develop more effective policies and programmes to engage the diaspora as developmental actors.

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Table of contents: 

1.1 - What this Guidance is about
1.2 - Introduction to diaspora
1.3 - How to use this Guidance

Six steps towards measuring the economic contributions of your diaspora

2.1 - STEP 1: Establish a coordination structure
2.2 - STEP 2: Conduct background research
2.3 - STEP 3: Select the best data collection methods for your context
2.4 - STEP 4: Develop the Diaspora Economic Contributions Data Framework (DECDF) and an associated Phased Implementation Plan
2.5 - STEP 5: Test and review
2.6 - STEP 6: Implement, report, monitor and evaluate

Data collection options

3.1 - Diaspora investment
3.2 - Diaspora trade
     3.2.1 - Diaspora trade in goods
     3.2.2 - Diaspora trade in services
3.3 - Diaspora tourism
3.4 - Philanthropy
3.5 - Employee compensation
3.6 - Surveying the diaspora

The Diaspora Data Toolbox



End poverty in all its forms everywhere


Boosting migration’s poverty-reduction effects. Through knowledge and skills transfer, remittances and more, migration can be a significant poverty-reduction tool for migrants and their families, and can make significant contributions to development efforts in both countries of origin and destination.

Including migrants in social protection coverage and policies. Social protection coverage for migrants tends to be low. There is a need to ensure migrants are both eligible for and effectively participate in social protection mechanisms, and are not discriminated against based on sex, age or migratory status, among other factors.

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all


Protecting migrant labour rights and promoting decent work. This would help migrant workers by addressing common challenges including those relating to working conditions, wages, social protection, occupational safety, access to health care, and migration status. By strengthening ethical recruitment practices and helping eliminate recruitment fees, this would also address human trafficking, debt bondage and forced labour.

Combatting forced labour, trafficking for forced labour, child labour, and all other types of labour exploitation. This can help work towards strengthening protection of exploited and trafficked individuals, prevention of trafficking and exploitation, prosecution and redress related to these crimes, promoting dialogue and cooperation on counter-trafficking, boosting human trafficking data collection and analysis, and more.

Reduce inequality within and among countries


Facilitating orderly, safe, and responsible migration and mobility, and encouraging the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. This would help govern migration for the benefit of all. Target 10.7 acknowledges that effective migration governance is key for safer, more orderly and more regular migration. This includes promoting regular migration that respects the rights of all migrants, and leveraging the positive development impact of migration for migrants themselves as well as for all communities and countries.

Lowering remittance transaction costs. This would help strengthen the positive impacts of remittances, benefiting migrants, and their families and communities. Transfer costs can be high, burdening migrants, discouraging using formal channels for remittances, and hampering the development potential of remittances. Addressing this often involves increasing competition and transparency in the transfer market, helping migrants make informed decisions. 

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable


Working towards making cities inclusive for migrants. Migrants are often especially vulnerable within cities. They may have low knowledge of local contexts, and/or multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, reducing their ability to access resources and opportunities such as housing, employment and basic services. Proactively including migrants across city-related targets, such as in affordable housing, would benefit migrants. Further, the SDGs promote a participatory and inclusive approach to city planning and management, and this should include migrant participation.

Including migrants in urban disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster risk management (DRM). Migrants are often more vulnerable to disasters in urban areas. For example, as informal settlements in peri-urban areas of less developed countries are often hazard-prone, migrants may be among the first and worst affected by hazards and consequently disasters, as well as less able to cope when these occur. The SDGs call to reduce deaths and mitigate negative impacts of disasters, and migrants should be proactively included in mechanisms around this.

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development


Improving migration data and increasing disaggregation of data by migratory status. Addressing gaps in quantity, accuracy, timeliness, comparability and accessibility of migration data will help decision-makers create evidence-based policy. Strengthened disaggregation will yield data on different dimensions of migrants’ situations to understand better their living conditions and how migration impacts on health, income and other areas, and ultimately help serve certain vulnerable groups.

Mobilising migrant partnerships for development. The SDGs call to use innovative, multi-stakeholder development partnerships and mechanisms. It is important to promote and improve migrant partnerships in this context; through remittances, knowledge and skill transfer, diaspora investment, philanthropy and other activities migrants are agents of development.