HARARE – The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is set to launch a project in which it will match dollar-for-dollar funds invested by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, the Zimbabwean on Sunday learnt last week.
As part of efforts to address the continued deterioration of Zimbabwe's economic and political situation that has aggravated the humanitarian crisis and weakened the coping mechanisms, the IOM project would seek to tap the wealth of financial and human resources of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora in the early socio-economic recovery of their areas of origin.
The project will match resources that Diaspora home town associations contribute towards early recovery initiatives identified by communities in major migrant sending areas on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
Community development projects would include (but not limited to) support for the econstruction/rehabilitation of schools, hospitals, irrigation schemes, road infrastructure and sustainable livelihoods projects, said the IOM.
It is thought that more than three million people or about a quarter of the population have left for neighbouring states and further afield to the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia to escape 94 percent unemployment, hyperinflation and a humanitarian crisis at
The bulk of them send money every month to support relatives back home.
Foreign currency remittances from Zimbabweans living outside of the country – excluding hand-to-hand transfers – were expected to double in 2009 from an estimated US$361 million in 2008, according to projections by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a
UN agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty.
Other estimates have put all remittances from expatriates in Britain to Zimbabwe at about US$1 billion annually, showing that the actual population of Zimbabweans in the UK is much bigger than estimated.
The remittances are largely credited with saving the troubled Zimbabwean economy from complete collapse since its crisis started nine years ago.
Zimbabwe’s central bank estimated in 2008 that locals were spending an estimated US$950 million annually on basic commodities in neighbouring states, an indication of the amount of remittances sent to the country by its sons and daughters living abroad.
The IOM aims to identify and build capacity of Diaspora home town associations as well as to improve the mechanism through which migrant remittances are channelled from migrant workers to recipients in migrant sending areas.
Through the project, the migration body also intends to undertake sequenced short-term repatriation of qualified Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to provide technical support to community development initiatives.
The project is expected to run until the end of 2010 and the IOM intends to work with other non-governmental organisations that work at community level and government departments such as the District Development Fund.
BY NEVER CHANDAPost published in: Agriculture