On the 27th Sep 2013 the World Bank and other international organisations gathered in London for the launch of the African institute for Remittance (AIR).
The AIR Project is an initiative in which the World Bank and selected development partners (European Commission, African Development Bank, International Organization for Migration) are collaborating to facilitate the African Union Commission and its member states in establishing the African Institute for Remittances. The Project is funded by a grant from the European Commission to the World Bank, which is responsible for the overall implementation. The Project was signed in December 2009 and launched in June 2010.
The London forum brought together financial institutions, Governments, Africa Diaspora and development agencies. The Africa missions and Embassies in the UK were well represented by Ethiopia’s High Commissioner to the UK, Ambassador Jackline Yonga – Deputy Head of Mission at the Kenya High Commission London, South Sudan Ambassador H.E Sabit A Alley, H.E Malawi High Commissioner and others.
Forum organisers highlighted the objectives of AIR as;
• Facilitate the process leading to the creation of the Institute; and develop the capacity of the Member States of the African Union, remittance senders and recipients, and other stakeholders to implement concrete strategies and operational instruments to use remittances as development tools for poverty reduction.
Hassan Dudde Somalia Economic Consultant and the MD of the Somalia Economic forum in a panel discussion highlighted the importance of working with Africa Diaspora to implement objectives set out by AIR.
Hassan echoed other speakers in praising the AIR initiative and promised through Somalia Economic Forum to work closely with AIR officials to facilitate its success especially within the Somalia Remittance
‘’ I see this as a great opportunity for all the stakeholders to tap into Diaspora remittance to drive development in Africa’’ Mr Dudde said.
The forum was addressed too by Ambassador Jackline L.Yonga who gave an overview of Kenya’s Government engagement with its Diaspora.
The Government of Kenya understands the critical role its diaspora plays towards development. Kenya’s central Bank has for 7 years tracked remittance from the Diaspora and continue to work with stakeholders to explore opportunities for further engaging with the diaspora.
Ambassador Yonga told the delegates that her Government had developed a Diaspora Policy, currently being discussed in parliament.
Other Speakers to address the forum included ; Richard Dowden of the Royal Africa Society, Kenneth Coates – World Bank, Donald Terry – Global Remittance Specialist who was the event’s moderator, Ms. Soheyla Mahmoudi, Senior Operations Officer, Task Team Leader to the AIR Project, Finance and Private Sector Development Department, Africa Region, the World Bank.
The forum successfully addressed the overall development potential associated with African remittances, as well as the specific challenges and problems faced, to sensitize the core objective and thematic areas that the AIR is planning to undertake once it is established and to learn more about the “Send Money Africa” remittances price database.