Diaspora – a development factor

The SDC’s Global Programme Migration and Development helps migrants to contribute to sustainable development by fostering appropriate conditions in countries of origin, transit and destination. It also supports initiatives carried out by diaspora organisations.

SDC focus

The priorities and activities of the SDC’s Global Programme Migration and Development (GPMD) as regards diasporas are based on three pillars:

  • Improving conditions: The GPMD helps to create the necessary political, legal and social conditions to allow migrants' experience to have the largest possible impact. To this end, the GPMD works closely with national and local authorities in migrants’ countries of origin, cooperating with them on the drafting of strategies and action plans that will strengthen diasporas’ role as a development actor.
  • Developing capabilities: The GPMD strengthens the organisational skills of members of migrant organisations, ensuring that their ideas and plans can be implemented. This requires project management skills and awareness of the added value that migrants create in terms of development cooperation.
  • Working with diasporas: The GPMD establishes projects in cooperation with selected migrant organisations, in order to assess the potential for cooperation (and its limits) and develop various different forms of cooperation.


Studies show that migrants who have integrated well in their host country make a significant contribution to the development of their country of origin. Thus, integration and commitment to one’s homeland are not mutually exclusive. The economic and socio-cultural potential that diasporas possess plays a crucial role in the development of their countries of origin. Migrants transfer money to family and friends and invest, through small businesses, in the development of their homeland. However, even in their country of destination, they contribute to the development of their country of destination through the transfer of skills, knowledge and experience. Members of diaspora communities move between two countries. They know the living conditions in both the countries of origin and destination. Migrants are playing an increasingly important role in the debate regarding future development cooperation. Closer partnerships among governments, development organisations and migrants can help us to better exploit the potential benefits of migration.

Current challenges

While we have seen increasing numbers of new initiatives seeking to reach out to diaspora organisations, there is also a need for effective cooperation, coordination and long-term planning. Many countries of origin have begun to take their diasporas into account when planning development and drawing up strategies and action plans. However, other countries of origin do not yet have the conditions that are necessary in order to take advantage of their diasporas' potential from a development perspective. Closer cooperation between development actors who recognise diasporas' potential will open up new horizons as regards the development of migrants’ countries of origin.

Current projects

Object 1 – 8 of 8

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Building Regional and National capacities for improved Migration Governance in the IGAD Region

01.07.2023 - 31.08.2027

The Horn of Africa is of high interest for Switzerland in terms of migration policy. Swiss support to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and its Member States will contribute to improve their migration governance capacities so as to enable the organisation to effectively implement regional, continental and global regulatory standards for the protection of refugees and vulnerable migrants in the region.

BiH Diaspora Platform

15.07.2020 - 30.06.2024

Switzerland is host to a significant diaspora from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), including representatives of all nationalities constituting BiH. Since 2017, the i-platform serves as a bridge-builder among the heterogeneous members of the BiH diaspora in Switzerland and between the two countries, facilitating partnerships, know-how transfer, and investments. Through this exit phase, the i-platform shall gain full financial sustainability and become a meaningful and effective diaspora engagement model for development.

The "Bosnia i Herzegovina"-Platform

01.07.2020 - 31.12.2025

The Bosnia i Herzegovina Platform (BiH) is an initiative of diaspora associations that are already involved in development activities. The platform will enhance cooperation and strengthen the diaspora associations’ role as development actors. SDC aims at promoting the potential of migrants for sustainable development mainly through improved framework conditions. The permanent platform as an effective and dynamic network will set the grounds for competent coordination services to diaspora organizations, to the country of destination and to the country of origin.

Migration de travail et développement économique en Afrique de l'Ouest

01.01.2020 - 31.05.2025

La migration en Afrique de l’Ouest est en grande partie intra régionale, et se fait principalement à des fins de travail. Grâce à sa longue expérience en migration et développement (M&D), la Suisse vise à faciliter la contribution des migrant-e-s au développement socio-économique de la sous-région par la voie d'initiatives qui ont trait à leur protection, leur meilleure inclusion dans les zones urbaines, ainsi qu’à leur plus grande implication dans les trajectoires de développement des pays concernés. 

Moldova - Making the Most of Migration

01.01.2019 - 31.05.2023

One third of Moldovans already live abroad and the Government acknowledges that migration can bring many opportunities, if addressed and managed properly. SDC`s previous interventions resulted in a unique mobilization of migrants committed to contribute to the development of their home communities. Switzerland will further support Moldova in building a favorable environment for migrants to invest in their home country, as well as to provide good quality return and reintegration services.

Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD)

01.12.2018 - 31.08.2024

Migration is one of the 21st century’s defining features that significantly impacts economic and social development. It is thus crucial to ensure that the positive effects of migration on development are maximized, while the negative ones minimized. This is only possible if reliable evidence on migration and its interrelations with development is available. KNOMAD generates ground-breaking research and policy recommendations in the field of M&D. Switzerland has taken a lead in building-up KNOMAD as a pioneering knowledge initiative.

Building Regional and National capacities for improved Migration Governance in the IGAD Region

01.10.2018 - 30.06.2023

The Horn of Africa is of high interest for Switzerland in terms of migration policy. Swiss support to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and its Member States will contribute to improve their capacities to manage migration. Migrants and refugees will be better protected in the region and the contribution of migration to development of the Horn of Africa will be supported, hence stability promoted. The Swiss expertise and engagement at the policy level will contribute to foster a dialogue on migration between Switzerland and the Horn of Africa.

Youth for Change

15.12.2017 - 28.02.2023

SDC supports efforts to mobilize and empower young people in BiH to become agents of change. Young people will develop their competences and mobilize their peers in youth-led community projects. Successful and motivated young people will be further supported to become social entrepreneurs and create decent jobs. They will serve as role models for other youth and lay the groundwork for new social and economic values in their local communities.

Object 1 – 8 of 8

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