Our research manager Brendan Filipovski was part of the Regional Forum ‘Diaspora Direct Investments – Experiences from the Western Balkans’. The forum was held in Vienna and it explored the possibilities for stimulating private sector growth, especially SME’s, by making ‘smart’ transnational connections, for example by introducing financial instruments and mechanisms that can facilitate the use of remittances and know-how towards productive investments in the Western Balkans.
The forum marked the conclusion of the first phase of the Link Up! project funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation. As a one-day multi-stakeholder event, it presented a unique opportunity to gather key government stakeholders, financial institutions, international organizations, academia, the private sector, investment funds and NGOs, amongst other, from Western Balkan countries (i.e. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, The Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia) to network and discuss topics related to diaspora engagement.
“There is no general model but we can learn from the experiences of other countries. Networking is key. Further, we are now in a world that has never been more networked. Diaspora can now take an active role in the home country despite living outside. It is no longer the case that migrants leave the home country and are forgotten. Technology and communication have changed the notion of diaspora. They are no longer lost assets but an evolving and ongoing resource.
However, they cannot just be seen as a source of money. They have knowhow, and experience too. We should also be asking what we can do for them.” – Says Brendan.
Macedonia2025 hopes that these types of forums will manage to motivate all parties to deepen their cooperation and networks and also give them insights on how to tackle certain bottlenecks that the Diaspora faces.