The Diaspora and economic development in Africa

  • Blaise GnimassounEmail author
  • John C. Anyanwu
Original Paper


While the dominant collective belief asserts that brain drain is detrimental to the development of small economies, new studies hold the reverse view. This paper aims at studying the role of the Diaspora in the economic development of low-income countries with particular focus on African countries. It analyzes both the overall effect and the specific effect of emigration according to the level of education of emigrants. While the empirical results for all developing countries fail to establish an unambiguous relationship between the Diaspora and economic development, those concerning African countries establish a clear and unambiguous relationship. The African Diaspora, especially the high-skilled Diaspora, contributes positively, significantly and robustly to the improvement of income in Africa. These findings challenge the dominant collective belief. Improvements in human capital, total factor productivity and democracy are effective transmission channels of this impact. In addition, while high-skilled emigrants have an overall greater impact on economic development and democracy, those with a low level of education contribute more to remittances to Africa.


Diaspora International migration Economic development Africa 

JEL Classification

F22 F63 O55 



This paper was produced under the AERC/AfDB Scholars Exchange Program. We would like to thank AfDB and AERC for funding the research stay.

Supplementary material

10290_2019_344_MOESM1_ESM.docx (135 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 134 kb)


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Copyright information

© Kiel Institute 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BETA – CNRSUniversity of LorraineNancy CedexFrance
  2. 2.EconomiX-CNRSUniversity Paris NanterreNanterreFrance
  3. 3.Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Department (ECMR0)Abidjan 01Côte d’Ivoire
  4. 4.African Development Institute (ECAD)African Development Bank (AfDB)Abidjan 01Côte d’Ivoire

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