Bosnia finally reaches out to its expats

The government is finally taking steps to engage with some of the estimated 2 million BiH citizens living abroad by creating an interactive portal to connect them with their homeland.

Tijana Cvjeticanin
Tijana Cvjeticanin Istinomjer, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Source: Istinomjer
Bosnia finally reaches out to its expats - NewsMavens
Bosnia and Herzegovina flags flying outside Parliament. Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Fulfilled campaign promises in Bosnia and Herzegovina involving the country's scattered population usually amount to zero. So even if the recent interactive portal for the BiH diaspora may not seem like much, it's more than has been done before. 

Bosnian citizens living abroad impact the state's economy on a "micro-level" by sending money to their families back home. Officials are recognizing that the diaspora could have bigger economic potential in terms of financial investments and knowledge that could boost BiH enterprises. But some who have tried to invest in their hometowns have reported administrative obstacles when they refused to "butter up" the local decision makers.

It's not only allegations of local corruption that stand in the way of economic progress with Bosnian expats. There also are unresolved legal issues related to citizenship and voting rights. Whether any of those issues will be addressed, and whether the interactive portal will help officials address them, remains to be seen.

migration,politics,human rights,economy

Details from the story:

  • An estimated 2 million BiH citizens live abroad, compared to the 3.5 million who live in the country. 
  • Some who left were wartime refugees while others migrated for economic reasons. Economic emigration has intensified in recent years. 
  • In August 2017, the state Council of Ministers adopted an official document aimed at resolving some of the issues affecting the scattered population of BiH. The ministry has partnered with the UNDP, Swiss government and International Organization for Migrations on the project.
  • Semiha Borovac, the minister of human rights and refugees, has said the government will develop an online "hub" for connecting BiH citizens abroad with developments in their home country.
  • The newly established "interactive portal" aims to provide information about ongoing projects and investment opportunities in BiH.
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