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Since my early studies at Institut des Etudes Politiques of the Grenoble University, the development and integration of Africa were at the forefront of my studies and topics of my presentations in seminaries and essay papers. It was natural that I continue to work and increase the awareness about Africa and its need of establishing new kinds of relations with other countries other than the past metropolitan and colonialists.

The African Diaspora is and can be considered as the link and the builder of external relation between the country of their residency and their country of origin.

What are diasporas?

The countries with the most immigrants to the U.S. are: Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Somalia, Eritrea, Kenya. 

A diaspora can be defined as a group of persons who have migrated and their descendants who maintain a connection to their homeland. The U.S. State Department defines diasporas as migrant groups that share the following features: dispersion, whether voluntary or involuntary, across socio-cultural boundaries and at least one political border; a collective memory and myth about the homeland; a commitment to keeping the homeland alive through symbolic and direct action; the presence of the issue of return, although not necessarily a commitment to do so; and a consciousness and associated identity, expressed in diaspora community media, the creation of diaspora associations or organizations, and online participation.


The African Union defines its diaspora as “consisting of people of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union.”

More than 90 percent of migrants from north Africa go to countries outside the region, especially to Western Europe. But almost two-thirds of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa leave for other countries in the region. Most of those remain within the subregion (for example, west Africans remain primarily within west Africa).

Remittances by the African Diaspora 

African migrants sent at least $40 billion in remittances to African countries in 2010. The true size of remittance flows, including unrecorded flows, is believed to be significantly larger. Remittances are the most tangible link between migration and development. Remittances are a large source of funding in many African countries: in Lesotho, they are close to 30 percent of GDP; in Cape Verde, Senegal, and Togo, more than 10 percent of GDP. In Egypt, remittances are larger than the revenue from the Suez Canal, and in Morocco they exceed tourism revenue.

In sub-Saharan Africa, remittances have been more stable than foreign direct investment, private debt, and equity flows. Nevertheless, even small fluctuations in remittance inflows can pose macroeconomic challenges to recipient countries, especially those with large inflows.

Remittances play an important role in reducing the incidence and severity of poverty. They help households diversify their sources of income while providing a much needed source of savings and capital for investment. Remittances are also associated with increased household investments in education, entrepreneurship, and health—all of which have a high social return in most circumstances. That said, the evidence of the impact of remittances on economic growth is mixed.

Picture Said El Mansour Cherkaoui

Nigeria receives the most remittances from the diaspora. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and has a large diaspora population. In 2020, Nigeria received $17.2 billion in remittances. 

Below are the 10 highest recipients of remittance inflows in Africa, according to available figures for 2021.

READ: These 6 countries have the highest unemployment rates in Africa

  1. Nigeria: $19.2 billion
  2. Ghana: $4.5 billion
  3. Kenya: $3.7 billion
  4. Senegal: $2.7 billion
  5. Zimbabwe: $2.0 billion
  6. Democratic Republic of Congo: $1.3 billion
  7. Uganda: $1.1 billion
  8. Mali: $1.1 billion
  9. South Africa: $900 million
  10. Togo: $700 million – Source: June 3, 2022 1:14 PM

Other African countries that receive significant remittances include: Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Egypt, Morocco. 

In 2021, each of these countries received at least $10 billion in remittances. Egypt, Nigeria, and Morocco accounted for 65% of all remittances to Africa in 2022. 

Remittances are money sent by people living in a foreign country to their home country.  The African diaspora, which includes Sub-Saharan African immigrants living in the U.S., Europe, and other countries, send significant amounts of remittances to the continent. In 2021, the African diaspora sent $45 billion in remittances to Africa, which was a 6.2% increase from 2020.  In 2022, the World Bank estimated that remittances to Africa totaled nearly $100.1 billion, which is approximately twice the level of overseas development assistance. 

The African diaspora is the largest financier of Africa in the form of gifts or grants. Remittances are an important contributor to the growth and development of a country. In 2022, remittances accounted for 3.4% of Africa’s total GDP. 

The World Bank estimates that Africans in the diaspora save about $53 billion per year. In 2020, recorded remittances reached over $80 billion sent to and within Africa. 

In 2023, growth in remittances is expected to ease to 1.3%. Sending $200 to the region cost on average 8% in the fourth quarter of 2022, up from 7.8% a year ago.

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