Reports on Migration and Development Highlight Egyptian Diaspora Engagement and Positive Impact of Remittances

Three studies covering issues such as remittances and investment,
the role and expectations of the Egyptian diaspora and of Egyptian
entrepreneurs in Italy, have been launched by the IOM office in

The reports highlight the positive economic impact on the
country of the almost 2.7 million Egyptian migrants abroad, 70 per
cent of which reside in Arab countries and 30 per cent in Europe
and North America. Egypt is now the biggest recipient of
remittances in the Middle East with an estimated USD 7.8 billion
sent in 2009 (representing approximately 5 per cent of the national

The reports also underline that approximately 80 per cent of
remittances are channelled towards consumption of goods and
services and meeting daily expenses, and 20 per cent goes towards
different forms of investment, with real estate being the most
common activity (39 per cent) followed by the establishment of
small and medium sized businesses (22 per cent and 6 per cent

Migrant families that chose not to use remittances for
productive investments explained that the venture climate in Egypt
is deemed too risky. However, it is noted that a large number of
these households are faced with a lack of access to information on
different investment opportunities and steps to take when
establishing a business.

Also highlighted in the reports is the willingness and capacity
of the Egyptian diaspora to contribute to the economic and social
development of their country. This, in spite of challenges such as:
difficulty in accessing consular services (51 per cent); preserving
Egyptian identity amongst second generation family members (46 per
cent); the lack of cultural cooperation between host countries and
Egypt (24 per cent); the inability to vote abroad (20 per cent);
and military service obligations (6 per cent).

Migration also has an important but often neglected impact on
women's empowerment. The studies found that 52 per cent of
migrants’ wives decided how to spend the money received, and
that in these households, remittances represented an important
source of income that accounted for as much as 43 per cent of the
total household income.     

A set of conclusions and recommendations from the report focuses
on urging the Egyptian government to introduce specific programmes
in different governorates that will provide business and investment
advice to returning migrants, as well as focusing on implementing
measures that harness the potential of the diaspora. This is to
ensure that these initiatives are accompanied by an integrated and
targeted communication strategy that enhances the overall benefits
for Egypt and its citizens who live abroad.

The reports, which are funded by the Italian Cooperation for
Development as part the Integrated Migration Information System
project and by the IOM Regional Office in Cairo, will be launched
on 12 July at 9:30 am at the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel in

The studies can be accessed online at: "paragraph-link-no-underline-bold" href=

For further information, please contact:

Roberto Pitea

IOM Cairo

Tel: +2 02 2358001

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