08 November 2018

Lecture: Dutch, French and German support to returning diaspora entrepreneurs: a comparative study in Morocco

Dr. Gea Wijers will present the findings of her Diasporalink research in Morocco on Wednesday 14 November at 6 pm.

Remigrant entrepreneurs’ activities have long been considered ‘invisible’, as the return migration of the former diaspora was supposed to be a process of immaculate ‘absorption’ back into the fabric of homeland society. However, experiences of return testify to the fact that this is not always, or rather, only incidentally, the case. Transnational resources (social networks, professional communities) and formal support structures (migration policies, resettlement desks) in both host and home countries play major roles in remigrant sustainable return and investment in new ventures. This presentation focuses on the ways in which Dutch, French and German foreign policy support to first generation Moroccan remigrant entrepreneurs is organized and set to work in Morocco.

findings morocco resized 1 500x281

In a critical discussion of the assumptions and practices of migration policies, the dynamics of Moroccan (re)migration, the remigrants’ reception into the Moroccan economy and the history, context and merits of the French, German and Dutch support structures are compared. To reach their potential, findings propose several issues that need to be resolved: 1. The level of institutionalization, neutrality and sustainability of the host country-initiated support agencies require improvement. 2. Integrated research is needed to create a vision on the needs related to foreign policy support for distinct target groups in the cultural and economic contexts of distinct host and home countries. 3. Multileveled, multinational and collaborative approaches need to be adopted as they offer the most sustainable and complete results. 4. Current indicators for the ‘success’ of remigrants’ support are incomplete and may even be considered harmful to the goals of migration and development.

Gea Wijers 17 6

Gea Wijers defended her PhD dissertation on the contributions of Cambodian returnee entrepreneurs to institutional change in their home country in June 2013 at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Currently, Gea holds a part-time postdoc position on the LIQUID program (http://liquidprogram.net) and works at  Business Management and Organization (BMO) at Wageningen University & Research (WUR). Next to this, she runs her own consultancy Wijers Community-based Consulting (http://geawijers.com) and is affiliated, among others, with the SPARK program to support remigrant entrepreneurship (www.spark-online.org) and the Migration & Development course at The Network University (www.netuni.org).