Government Policies on the Development Potential of the Bosnian Diaspora in Germany

  • Puck Graafland MSc. Student in Development and International Relations (2012)


The diaspora of Bosnia and Herzegovina currently consists of an estimated 38,9% of Bosnia’s entire population. Together they provide for 13- 20% of Bosnia’s national GDP by consistently sending money to family and friends at home. They thereby actively contribute to the socio-economic development of their home country. Nonetheless, there are clear signs that the fulfilment of the existing potential would be much higher if national policies that actively support and assist Bosnian diaspora contribution would be in place. Research on the Bosnian contribution environment is, however, largely absent, predominantly due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the literature view the Bosnian diaspora as former refugees who have not (yet) returned, instead of as a permanent diaspora that can function as ‘agents for development’. This study aims to fill this gap and provide a first cautious step towards an overview of the most salient issues in the Bosnian-German migration and development environment. By applying Brinkerhoff’s model of enabling government roles, this paper argues that a lacking diaspora policy on the side of Bosnia and the restrictionist immigration and refugee policies of Germany form major obstructions to effective home country development contributions of Bosnian migrants in Germany. Hollifield’s theory of the ‘liberal paradox’ and Delgado Wise and Márquez Covarrubias’ approach on ‘northern dominance’ further explain why national and international politics shape the presence of such policies, despite their obstructing effects on diaspora contribution.

Author Biography

Puck Graafland, MSc. Student in Development and International Relations (2012)
Aalborg University