German activities Supporting development work by people with a migration background in Germany

When people move to Germany, they often retain close ties to their countries of origin. Many of them join together to form associations that support development in their countries of origin.

Weekly market in Berlin Neukölln
Weekly market in Berlin Neukölln

Diaspora2030 (External link) is the website of German development cooperation for people with a migration history in Germany who are committed to development policy.

If you too would like to use your expertise and experience to initiate change and work for a future worth living for the people in our partner countries, you will find information here.

Many people with migration backgrounds contribute to knowledge-sharing through the skills and experience they gain in Germany. They use their local networks, their familiarity with the situation on the ground and their language skills to effect change in their country of origin. This makes them key partners in Germany’s development cooperation.

Members of the diaspora are a crucial segment of civil society. Their organisations can make use of the support the BMZ offers for associations, initiatives and organisations. German development cooperation also includes programmes that are specifically aimed at the diaspora.

Diaspora engagement: boosting development through expertise and innovation

On behalf of the BMZ, the GIZ programmes Migration & Diaspora (External link) and Shaping development-oriented migration (External link) support the active engagement of people with a migration background in Germany in order to boost social and economic development in partner countries long-term.

The BMZ makes it possible for professionally experienced “diaspora experts (External link)” to contribute their knowledge and skills through short-term voluntary assignments at institutions in partner countries or the surrounding regions. Since 2016, more than 425 institutions in the BMZ’s partner countries have been supported in this way. Diaspora experts have been involved in areas such as healthcare and social issues, for instance, and have used their specialist knowledge to contribute to infrastructure projects.

Skilled experts who would like to return to their home country long-term and work for local employers can receive support as Returning Experts (External link) through the Migration & Diaspora programme. Since 2019, more than 970 employers in the BMZ’s partner countries have benefited by employing Returning Experts. These include universities and research institutes, government institutions and civil society organisations.

The programme also supports diaspora organisations (External link) that are actively engaged in development with planning and implementing non-profit, development-oriented projects which are carried out in partner countries in collaboration with local organisations. The domains are highly varied, ranging from gender equality training programmes for young people to improving sanitation. Thanks to ongoing collaboration with a total of 190 organisations since 2011, the projects continue to have an impact even after the funding period has ended.

With its Business Ideas for Development (External link) scheme, the BMZ assists people with a migration background who are looking to start a company in their country of origin and contribute to local economic development with the skills they have acquired in Germany. Since 2010, about 700 prospective founders have received support and the scheme has facilitated the foundation of around 180 companies. These companies bring innovative ideas to the market and create jobs in sectors ranging from tourism to IT to food.

Investment by the diaspora: businesses build prospects

The BMZ uses the (External link) platform to incentivise the African diaspora in Germany and Europe to invest in businesses in Africa via remittances. This offers a way for micro and small enterprises to safeguard jobs and revenues. Since 2019, around five million euros of private investment has been mobilised and over 3,100 companies have received support, thereby securing or creating around 4,300 jobs – over half of which are held by women.

Keeping dialogue open: involving the diaspora in politics and project work

Alongside these activities, the BMZ is bolstering the diaspora’s involvement in political decision-making processes. To this end, the BMZ began a strategic dialogue with the diaspora in 2021 in order to create a space for constructive discussion and exchange of ideas. The BMZ also provides funding to enable the diaspora to organise its own events, such as the German Diaspora Summit 2022.

Furthermore, there are an increasing number of projects commissioned by the BMZ that actively involve members of the diaspora. These include initiatives for shaping regular labour migration and mobility between North Africa and Europe (THAMM (External link)) and programmes for combating female genital mutilation (External link) in East Africa.

As at: 11/07/2023