The official estimates show that about 2 million people of BiH origin (1st and 2nd generation) live in approximately 50 countries around the world. Most of them retain strong emotional, financial, and familial connection with their homeland. They are also well integrated in their host countries, with potential and willingness to contribute to the development of BiH. Diaspora could have a significant role in development, poverty reduction and economic growth in BiH.
However, the interaction with BiH Diaspora is sporadic and unstructured, and they are rarely included or consulted in the design of policies or decision-making processes. Diaspora is often perceived as “money senders”, given that remittances account for 14% of the country’s GDP.
However, what is often not emphasized enough is the myriad of other forms through which diaspora provides the valuable contribution to economic development of their homeland, such as trade and investment, job creation, transfer of know-how and innovation, promotion of the country globally, etc.
Effective diaspora engagement relies on two-way communication, with benefits achieved only when working jointly on common development goals. Although many of these potentials remain largely untapped, the diaspora is considered as one of the key players the development of BIH.
In the first six months of this year, remittances from countries outside Bosnia and Herzegovina, mainly from Diaspora, amounted to 1.32 billion BAM in BiH, which is an increase of 2.0 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the Central Bank of BiH.
On the other side, experts believe that so much unregistered money enter BiH but not over the bank accounts. “The reasons for the increase in remittances from abroad are the better financial status of people who live in the diaspora, and the increasing number of people from BiH who decided to live abroad and who are starting to deliver money to their homeland,” it was stated from the Central Bank of BiH.
Remittances from abroad amounted to 2.65 billion BAM in 2017, and in 2018, 2.7 billion BAM.
Admir Cavalic, an economic analyst, says that the estimate that the amount of money deposited without registration is outside of bank accounts, which cannot be recorded by the Central Bank of BiH, is identical or higher.
Cavalic explained that it cannot be definitely known, but that he assumes that the amount of unregistered money is identical, so that that the amount of money received from the diaspora could be almost double.
He said there were several reasons for more money coming from the diaspora, but that it should be borne in mind that there is generally a tendency for the BiH’s diaspora to increase.