The Technical Advisory Working Group (TAWG) on Remittances and Diaspora Engagement in South Sudan visited Rwanda between 5 – 8 May, 2021to learn from Rwandese authorities on working closely with the diaspora towards economic and social development.
Rwanda emerged from conflict to building one of the most robust economies in East and Central Africa.
The study visit was organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in South Sudan in coordination with IOM Rwanda within the framework of ‘Enhancing Knowledge on Remittances and Diaspora Engagement’ project funded by IOM’s Development Fund (IDF).
The delegation was led by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Finance and Planning. Members of the delegation also included representatives from the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Investment, Gender, Child and Social Welfare as well as a representative from IOM South Sudan.
The delegation met with counterparts from Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MINAFFET) who shared best practices on policies that have been developed to attract the Rwandan Community living Abroad (RCA) to invest in and contribute to the development of Rwanda. Part of the success is the willing, well organized and engaging diaspora who worked with authorities towards a common goal of the recovery and development of Rwanda to the status it is today.
“We have witnessed the vast opportunities that having a well coordinated and engaged diaspora can have towards the development of our country. South Sudan and Rwanda have a comparable history, and if we can put forth the right policies, there is no reason why we cannot grow into a prosperous hub like Rwanda,” said Ambassador Marach Kon Awet from South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
IOM has supported the TAWG’s Policy Drafting Taskforce in the drafting of the first Pro Gender Diaspora and Remittances Policy that was recently finalized and awaits endorsement from relevant ministries. This policy was drafted following a policy research conducted by IOM on Remittances and the Diaspora Engagement which highlighted the underlying challenges of limited records on inflow and outflow remittances and high cost of remittances among others.
The delegation also learnt about the Rwanda Community Abroad (RCA), a Directorate in the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MINAFFET) that acts as a focal for mobilization and coordination of diaspora for both social and economic investments. The RCA works with agencies such as the Rwanda Development board to identify investment opportunities.
“South Sudan has a huge untapped diaspora around the world that can support the development of the country. IOM is committed to continue supporting the government of South Sudan to develop policies and instruments that make use of diaspora engagement and remittances as a positive and reliable source in economic development and social cohesion in the country,” said Peter Van der Auweraert, IOM’s Chief of Mission in South Sudan.