IOM Carries Out Study on the Development Potential Of Guinea Bissau Migrants

At the request of the government of Guinea Bissau, IOM is putting together a profile of Guinea-Bissau migrants living in Portugal and France, host to the largest Guinea Bissau diaspora communities in Europe, with a view to better understanding their potential to contribute to development back home.

The focus on the migrants comes at a time when the issue of severe skills shortage in Guinea Bissau affecting vital sectors such as health, education and agriculture, is receiving increasing attention from its government.

Although there are no reliable figures on the exact numbers of Guinea Bissau nationals living abroad, a 2005 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) migrant database puts the number of Guinea Bissau nationals living in Portugal and France at 32,947. However, government estimates on the Guinea Bissau diaspora in Portugal range between 40,000 – 50,000 and between 15,000 – 20,000 in France.

The study, jointly carried out by IOM and the Centre for African Development Studies (CEsA) in Lisbon, will fill the information gap regarding geographical distribution of Guinea-Bissau migrants and the skills and competences of the Guinea Bissau diaspora in Portugal and France.

By matching the results with the development priorities proposed by earlier field research in Guinea Bissau, it is expected that the study will contribute to the drawing up of a migration and development policy for Guinea-Bissau.

It is also expected that the study will provide recommendations for the mobilization of the Guinea-Bissau diaspora in an action plan on initiating development projects in their country of origin.

According to a UN report, an estimated 25 per cent to 50 per cent of Guinea-Bissau nationals with university education live abroad.

For more information, please contact:

Hugo Tavares Augusto
IOM Lisbon
Tel: +351 21 324 29 45