Migration and Development

Function of the project

The role of migration in development, poverty reduction and economic growth is substantial and its benefits affect both the countries of destination and the countries of origin. Specifically, migration enhances a country’s trade, investment and development by serving as a conduit for development finance (remittances), the transfer of skills and ideas, and the establishment of commercial networks. However, the potential of migration to improve development outside of the economy, including in social and cultural dimensions, tends to receive little policy attention. At the same time, local governments in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not have adequate policies and capacities to design and implement productive measures linking migration with development.  

Official statistics estimate that 1,471,594 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina (including second and third generation of emigrants) reside outside of the country. This accounts for approximately 39% of the total country population. These figures rank BiH second in Europe in terms of the magnitude of migration. The emigrants are often well educated and financially better off compared to the domicile population. At least 50% of them plan to return, which indicates great development potential. However, this potential is currently unused and almost completely limited to the provision of remittances and other financial transfers such as pensions. These transfers amount to more than 3.5 billion BAM annually.

What we do

The project is designed around channeling the effects of migration into development. It will focus on strengthening the capacities of ten pilot local governments (Jajce, Ključ, Laktaši, Ljubuški, Maglaj, Nevesinje, Posušje, Prijedor, Sanski Most and Velika Kladuša) to successfully manage and implement migration policy in line with area-specific needs and priorities. In order to address the weak link between the local economies and diaspora, the project also intends to foster vertical cohesion between national- and local-level immigration-related ventures, enabling the construction of concrete, implementable local-level action.

The project has three important components:

  1. Identifying key elements of migration’s impact on development and how they can inform policymaking;
  2. Outlining local-level policies to successfully integrate migrants’ contributions to the country’s development in at least 10 local governments;
  3. Strengthening the capacities of key actors (governmental institutions, civil society institutions, associations of municipalities and cities/AMCs, private sector, migrants’ organisations) at relevant governmental levels to build the policies.

Financial contributors

Donor Name

Amount contributed per year



Government of Switzerland/SDC

$  175,414



Government of Switzerland/SDC

$  653,130

Government of BiH

$ 60,000



Government of Switzerland/SDC

$  147,042

(Government of BiH – Municipalities of Jajce, Ključ, Laktaši, Ljubuški, Maglaj, Nevesinje, Posušje, Prijedor, Sanski Most and Velika Kladuša)

Delivery in previous fiscal year


Geographic coverage

Project's Publications