Osnat Lubrani: Banking and Investment Services for Diaspora

Jun 13, 2013

Speech of Ms. Osnat Lubrani, UNDP Resident Representative
Public Forum on Banking and Investment Services for Diaspora
Diaspora Engagement in Economic Development (DEED) Project

Hotel Emerald
Prishtina, Kosovo
13 June 2013

Dear Minister Makolli, (Name/Position from the Minsitry of Trade to be confirmed yet, Ms. Kusari – Lila also a Deputy Prime Minister by default, is out of country) Minister Ismaili (of Ecenomic Developement), Minister Stavileci (of Agriculture-newly confirmed), Governor Hamza (of Kosovo Central Bank), Dear Representatives of  the Banking Sector, Dear Mr. Kotilainen (First Secretary at the Finnish Embassy in charge of Development Cooperation), Mr. Vaughan (Chief of Mission IOM Kosovo), Dear Businessmen and Women, ladies and gentlemen, (Kusari-Lila is, and Minister of Trade and Industry)

I’m delighted to be with you at this Public Forum on Banking and Investment Services for Diaspora.

Migration has been an important force in shaping and reshaping Kosovar society throughout history. In the more
Migration can be an important force for sustainable development. As UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-Moon has stated: “During economic downturns, it is worth remembering that whole sectors of the economy depend on migrant workers and migrant entrepreneurs help to create jobs”.

The close relationship between Kosovo’s Diaspora and citizens residing in Kosovo holds enormous potential to be harnessed to advance both the interest of members of the Diaspora, as our interest to see Kosovo develop and prosper.

The latest UNDP Kosovo Remittance Study (2012) points to remittances as the second largest source of income for recipient households. The same study identifies positive impacts on poverty reduction, but also some of the problematic sides (for example, remittances can translate into a disincentive for entry to the labour market, particularly for women).

What is clear is that the full potential for remittances to drive sustainable development in Kosovo has not yet been fully realized. Most of the remittances go to consumption (also education). Too little of migrants’ savings transferred to Kosovo go to investment that can yield jobs and advance sustainable economic growth.

Today’s Forum is part of a project implemented by UNDP and IOM titled “Diaspora Engagement in Economic Development” (DEED). The overall objective of this project, which is supported generously by the government of Finland, is to support the Kosovo Government’s efforts to facilitate increased contribution of the Diaspora to Kosovo in the form of investments that can generate growth, and also to promote saving and investment among remittance-receiving households.

This forum brings together policy makers, private sector representatives from Kosovo, but also members of the Kosovo Diaspora, entrepreneurs living in the United States, Germany and other countries, alongside others who can share experience and best practices.

My hope is that today’s discussions can deepen our understanding gaps and barriers as well as deliberate creative actions to promote sustainable investments from Diaspora that can benefit those who live abroad, their relatives residing in Kosovo, but also Kosovo’s sustainable development.

I wish you productive discussions, and assure you of our commitment to take the ideas and conclusions that emerge from this meeting forward under our project. Thank you!
recent past, migration fluctuations were more extreme due to civil, political, and socio-economic unrest and, tragically, also due to conflict. Today in the current difficult economic climate with high unemployment rates, migration is bound to continue affecting Kosovo in the foreseen future.