Bringing them back: How IOM is helping Mozambique connect with its diaspora

“There are Mozambicans overseas who say ‘I have a business here but I want to invest in my home country, I want to come back to my home country’. Our goal is to find a way to help them do this.”

These are the words of Armando Chissaque, Deputy Director of the National Institute for Mozambican Communities Abroad (INACE) – an arm of Mozambique’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the primary beneficiary of IOM’s project Institutional Capacity-Building for Diaspora Engagement in Mozambique, funded by the IOM Development Fund.

Through a series of trainings and meetings, Chissaque says IOM has helped the institute develop the right technical expertise to carry out its projects.

“Some of the staff had never been involved in migration projects, this was their first time. But now they know how it works,” says Chissaque.

He gave an example of Project Assistant Carmina Cumbe Durão, who was directly funded by the IOM project. “She learnt how to draw up strategies, how to prepare budgets and how to involve the different institutions,” he says.

It’s a critical time for Mozambique, as booming foreign investment has seen GDP growth rates hover around seven percent over the past decade.

“There’s a real skills shortage in the country, with positions that could be filled by some of the two million Mozambicans living abroad,” says former Chief of Mission of IOM Mozambique, Stuart Simpson (2008-2014).

In collaboration with IOM, INACE has developed a database and mapping system to track the diaspora living in South Africa, Mozambique’s biggest destination country. And to target them, IOM and INACE have launched a number of communication channels, including a website and facebook page.

“We used to make these questions ‘how many Mozambicans do we have living abroad and where are they?’ Now we have the tools to work this out,” says Chissaque.

The IOM project was launched in January 2013 after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINEC) requested IOM assistance for their diaspora engagement strategy.