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Bolaji, Olufemi (2022) Diaspora finance for infrastructure development in Nigeria: exploring motivations, mechanisms and impact. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The money that migrants send back home is at the heart of the relationship between migration and development. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest to exploit ‘diaspora finance’ for the provision of public goods, including infrastructure in developing countries. This has been fuelled by the size and steady growth of remittances compared to foreign direct investments, private debt, and portfolio investments which are unstable. However, there are concerns whether these familial flows can be constituted as legitimate sources of ‘development finance’ and their sustainability. This thesis focuses on the potential of mobilising Nigerian diaspora capacity for infrastructural development. Nigeria offers an interesting context for a migration-development study because it has a significant diaspora and significant infrastructure challenges. In the context of recent lower growth rates, it has tried to raise ‘diaspora finance’ with mixed results. The study examined the UK-Nigeria corridor because the UK is a major immigration destination, and some of the largest outflows of remittances from the UK go to Nigeria. The study employed a mixed-methods approach combining quantitative and qualitative research in the UK and Nigeria, to examine factors shaping diaspora infrastructure contributions, the scope, extents and impact on the infrastructure landscape. It found that in addition to economic capacity, diaspora transfers are shaped by sociodemographic attributes, experiences of migration and the particular mobilisation mechanism in use. In terms of infrastructure, the diaspora prefer housing investments, followed by donations for educational facilities. The research examines social relations and trust within diaspora members, between the diaspora and people in Nigeria, and crucially, between the Nigerian government and people. These are vital to address in addition to making broad governance improvements. It raises concerns whether current high levels of remittances can be sustained, in light of stricter immigration controls in developed countries and generational change.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Anna Lindley
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 15 May 2022 13:18

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