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Ninety percent of Caribbean diaspora wants to engage deeper with the region, representing a significant untapped potential for economic development.
A new report by infoDev finds that the Caribbean diaspora is a sizeable, well-educated, and affluent demographic whose large majority is interested in investing in its countries of origin. Supported by the right incentives and policies, diaspora members could play an even larger role in contributing to the region’s development.
The assessment brings together knowledge and data gathered from over 850 self-identified members of the Caribbean diaspora, and sheds light on their characteristics and investment interests. Half of those surveyed send remittances and a full 85 percent give back to the Caribbean either through financial help, or other support in kind. Moreover, nine out of ten would like to be even more engaged in the future, potentially as investors.
The willingness and ability of the diaspora to engage represents a significant untapped potential for Caribbean nations. While the money is out there, creating avenues for these funds to flow back home and ensuring that the regulatory environment for businesses is conducive to receiving such investments remains a challenge.
The report provides recommendations for interventions that are designed for the Caribbean as a whole. Chief among these is the creation of an online marketplace that connects diaspora investors with opportunities back home. Such an approach would capitalize on the geographically dispersed nature of diaspora populations, the increasing use of the Internet for social networking and investing, and the nascent but growing crowdfunding sector.
This low-cost and scalable platform would provide equal access to everybody, regardless of their country of origin. Other recommendations include the creation of a uniform regulatory environment for investments, targeted capacity building for both entrepreneurs and angel investors, and the strengthening of existing angel investing networks.