The Growing Global Diaspora: Internationally Spread, Globally Connected

According to the second edition of the World Bank Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011, there are more than 215 million international migrants in the world. At US$325 billion in 2010, remittances received by developing countries far exceed the volume of official aid flows and constitute more than 10 percent of GDP in many developing countries. The shift in the pattern of migration is also a surprise; the volume of migration between developing economies is now larger than migration to high-income OECD countries – a change from the pattern of migration to the US, Western Europe and the Gulf.

*note: figures are # of millions

In ICT, the high growth economies of South and Central America, Africa and Asia are also experiencing significant expansion and development. Between 2000 and 2008 while global fixed broadband penetration jumped by almost 300% and mobile penetration by almost 400%, the increases were most significant in developing economies. In Latin America and the Caribbean, fixed broadband penetration jumped 300% and mobile penetration leaped 600%. In the Middle East and North Africa the corresponding figures were 1900% and 2500% respectively[1]. With these increases in connectivity comes the ability for the world’s migrants to be internationally-spread for economic or personal reasons but to be always globally connected.

Once connected, through convergence, the diaspora can interact with people at home in ways that were never possible before. As indicated by the remittance figures, money transfer home is clearly an application that people are keen to use but people are interacting in a range of ways., a Facebook statistics portal, estimates that Africa, Asia and South America are the fastest growing Facebook regions with growths of 27%, 24% and 22% respectively in the three months to February 2011 meaning that relationships from the ‘real world’ are being taken on-line. Society and social interaction is becoming more about being networked and connected through next generation tools – particularly when you may be separated by many thousands of miles from family, friends and business partners. The networked society, by making distance irrelevant, has made a reality of the global village.

Author: Cathal O’Toole, Jinny Senior Product Manager 

[1] World Bank, The Little Data Book on Information and Communication Technology 2010, May 2010