Mainstreaming the Concept of Migration and Development into Strategies, Policies and Actions in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Diaspora for Development (D4D)

Project completed

About 2 million BiH citizens reside outside their country of origin. They retain strong connections with their homeland, and many of them are interested in contributing to its development with skills, know-how and financial investment. Switzerland supports BiH (in both entities and Brčko district) in creating a favorable environment for leveraging diaspora’s human and financial capital (as investors, providers of know-how and networkers) for the development of the country, thus contributing to economic growth, employment and income.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Diaspora for development
Migration generally (development aspects and partnerships)
05.12.2016 - 31.12.2021
CHF  4’830’000

Since the early 1970s BiH has experienced increasing emigration, both forced and economically motivated. Most of the diaspora members are well educated and in a good financial position. Their remittances account for 14% of GDP and help their families in BiH meeting their living expenses and improving their livelihoods. Even though most of BiH migrants living abroad are well integrated in their host country, they retain a strong emotional, financial, and familial connection with BiH. Many of them are interested in contributing to the development of their homeland with knowledge, skills and financial investment. Recognizing the importance and potential of accumulated social, human and financial capital diaspora have gained, the BiH government has in 2016 started the creation of a coherent policy framework on diaspora engagement. A leading role in this process is assigned to the state level Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees. A policy document is currently in public consultation, laying the ground for a diaspora strategy and regulatory framework. Unlocking the potential of migration to contribute to BiH’s socio-economic development is stipulated as field of intervention in the new Swiss Cooperation Strategy for BiH. It is also in line with the EU Reform Agenda for BiH.


The overall goal of the project is to increase socio-economic opportunities and perspectives for women and men in BiH, and to improve their livelihoods through increased diaspora engagement.

Target groups

The main target groups of the project are:

  • The MHRR as well as state and entity ministries involved in the BiH Diaspora Working Group
  • 15 municipalities
  • Selected governmental institutions involved in strategic planning and economic development support (particularly Entity Development Banks, Entity Ministries and Regional Development Agencies)
  • Diaspora organisations and diaspora business representatives
  • Private sector and non-governmental community-based organisations in BiH which promote M&D on the ground

Final beneficiaries are BiH women and men who benefit from more opportunities and better perspectives through increased diaspora involvement.

Medium-term outcomes
  • Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees (MHRR) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), in cooperation with other relevant government institutions on different levels, use and further develop their instruments to actively connect, exchange, and engage with diaspora members and their organisations
  • Municipalities align their development strategies to the BiH diaspora strategy, provide more and better services to diaspora members, and encourage community initiatives to attract diaspora know-how and investment
  • Diaspora members transfer business related know-how and skills to BiH counterparts and make joint investments with private sector actors in BiH, thus creating new jobs

Expected results:  

  • Diaspora strategy, action plan and monitoring/evaluation framework are elaborated and under implementation
  • Relevant capacities of state and entity ministries (including systematic collection and use of emigration data) involved in drafting and implementation of the diaspora strategy are strengthened
  • MHRR’s leading role related to diaspora engagement in BiH is recognized by major stakeholders
  • Diaspora is organized in representation bodies in 2 pilot countries, interacting with BiH diplomatic representations and engaging in policy dialogue in BiH
  • A diaspora crowdsourcing platform is established and maintained by MHRR, and the potential of diaspora in 10 selected countries is mapped
  • Skills, know-how and financial resources are identified through mapping of diaspora potentials in 10 selected countries, and mobilized through the crowdsourcing platform and other mechanism for focused cooperation with diaspora
  • Municipalities are equipped with structures, capacities and tools to provide better services to diaspora
  • Municipalities engage diaspora in transfer of knowledge and skills as well as in investments
  • Businesses from diaspora and BiH engage in knowledge transfer and market-oriented skills development
  • Diaspora investment and economic engagement in BiH are increased

Results from previous phases:  

The pilot phase was structured in the frame of the SDC funded Integrated Local Development Project (ILDP) working with municipalities in establishing strategic planning. M&D has been integrated in development strategies of 10 partner municipalities and 7 cantons. In partnership with diaspora, visible projects have been designed and implemented; tangible results include improved income for 430 households in the farming sector and creation or retention of 70 jobs. Municipalities improved cooperation and communication with diaspora either by appointment of focal points or opening an office for cooperation with diaspora. Guidelines for mainstreaming of M&D into public policies were developed and used for the development of the diaspora policy. Initial awareness on M&D at state level institutions was created.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • United Nations Development Programme

Coordination with other projects and actors

The intervention will relate to SDC and SECO projects within the domains of Economy & Employment (e.g. Local Governance portfolio, Entrepreneurship Program, Youth Employment Project in terms of: employment, workforce development, investment, economic governance, and attracting diaspora investments for start-ups). Interaction will be sought with other M&D related initiatives (EU-strategic planning and economic infrastructure; USAID-migration for economic development) and actors (i-dijaspora, GIZ).

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    4’830’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    4’974’767
Project phases

Phase 2 05.12.2016 - 31.12.2021   (Completed)

Phase 1 15.07.2013 - 31.12.2015   (Completed)