Description: The Mapping Jamaica’s Diaspora Project is implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration. Its aim is to identify through survey responses how the Diaspora can contribute to the development of Jamaica, whilst also determining their needs and concerns. Increasingly, countries are recognizing the economic potentials of their Diasporas. The Diaspora can contribute to development through the creation of jobs, fostering competition, in-country business development, productivity and innovation. Connecting with and identifying capacities within Jamaica’s Diaspora through the use of appropriate actions that strengthen the government’s ability to engage and dialogue with the Diaspora will be the pillars of this initiative. The Government of Jamaica (GoJ) has already taken steps towards mobilizing the Diaspora for home country development. For example, there exists a structured Diaspora movement that hosts a biennial conference in Jamaica. Despite the government’s efforts, there is a lack of data on the stock of Jamaicans living overseas. Therefore, the principal aim of this initiative is to determine the location, interest and skills of those who comprise the Diaspora with a view of identifying opportunities for engaging them with the goal of facilitating the growth of Jamaica’s economy and human and social development. The ultimate aim in mapping the Diaspora is to survey their skills and compare them to skills gaps within Jamaica, then try to identify those individuals who can and are willing to fill these gaps (matching skills offer and demand). This will shape a more strategic and mutually beneficial relationship between Jamaica and the Diaspora, and will build the government’s capacity to better engage its Diaspora for the benefit of the country. Diasporas can build bridges between countries of origin and countries of destination, which calls for the design of local and global strategies aiming to harness this potential. The development potential of Jamaicans abroad cannot be understated, and this project endeavors to support their interest to contribute more than just remittances to their home country. Jamaica’s Diaspora is among the largest in the world and is estimated to be in excess of three million persons. The United States of America is the residence of more than half with approximately 1.8 million, the United Kingdom with approximately 650,000, and Canada with an estimated 300,000, with the remainder located in numerous countries across the globe. Simultaneously, with the growing number of Jamaican migrants around the world, there is a growing interest for them to retain their sense of identity and connection to home. Jamaica’s economy has benefitted significantly from remittance inflows from the Diaspora with an annual average totaling US$152 million between 2007 and 2011. However, remittance flows represent only one component of the Diaspora’s potential to significantly impact the country’s economy. This initiative will support new avenues in which the Diaspora can contribute to economic and social growth.
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