About Diaspora Engagement

Diasporas represent a vast and diverse community that have not only powered the development of the United States, but also hold the potential for transforming developing countries around the world. Today, more than 62 million Americans—a full fifth of the nation—are first or second generation diasporans. Globally, the number of people living outside their country of origin has almost tripled, from 76 million to 232 million, over the past four and half decades. Because many diaspora communities retain emotional, financial, and familial ties to their ancestral home, they have farreaching potential as partners in development for USAID. USAID has engaged diasporas for nearly two decades through a number of programs and partnerships. In early 2016, the Agency surveyed its diaspora-related initiatives, as well as those of the broader development community, to identify trends and new opportunities. This report, prepared by the U.S. Global Development Lab, which serves as the innovation hub within USAID, highlights the continuing importance of diasporas to USAID’s work, describes challenges to effective engagement, and offers suggestions to foster greater internal and external collaboration.