4. Lebanese Immigration: Opportunities & Losses

  Instructor: Laurent Aoun

  Click HERE to get the text written by Mr. Aoun.

  Click HERE to go to section I, HERE to go to section II, and HERE to go to section III.

Immigration: Opportunities and Losses

Section III

Section 3: Obstacles for immigration & development:

We will enumerate, briefly, the main obstacles that are preventing Lebanon from mainstreaming its economy and the huge immigration potentials into a national strategy.


3.1. The Lack of data about immigrants’ potential:

We all have been hearing for a long time that the Lebanese Diaspora has a huge investment potential dispersed all over the globe, with no accurate information on the potentials and their geographical distribution.

This is why it is important to start researching, surveying and communicating with those potential investors, since this step would be the core of any initiative towards investing immigrants.

3.2. The Lack of productivity of immigration institution:

Many Lebanese villages and towns have equivalent clubs in one more destination states; for this reason, it is crucial to support such organizations so that they would be able to achieve their goals, and I emphasize next on the significance of managing training seminars and electronic linkage:

Managing training seminars – like the current course - for the active members in these clubs to provide them with the necessary experience and expertise they need to be able to contribute in implementing developmental projects linking Lebanese Diaspora to our local villages.

 We mention for example the agreement initiated between the International  Migration  Organization based in Washington and its counterpart in El Salvador, with the cooperation of the Salvadorian foreign affairs ministry, to organize training lectures for the presidents of Salvadorian immigration clubs  in the U.S., aiming at providing them with qualifications and expertise to benefit from the “brain-power”  that has migrated to the U.S., and also, in executing and ensuring funds for developmental projects in their home country.

The electronic linkage between immigration clubs and foundations on side, and their corresponding villages and town in Lebanon is fundamental since it contributes in forging the ties of cooperation among residents and immigrants, and to promote Lebanese products abroad, especially those with a heritage and the e-selling of “Baklawa” for immigrants, and through them to the markets in which they are located.

Mexico is considered to be one of the pioneer countries in launching initiatives to ease the communication process with immigrants. For example, I point out the efforts of the “ FPPC ”  institution, collaboration with “ Banco de Mexico “ and “ UCLA “ in funding launching a project to build internet cafes in rural areas of western Mexico in order to facilitate the communication with its immigrants and promote its products.

3.3. Necessity of cooperating with receiving countries:

Many western and receiving states have adopted policies encouraging and supporting collaboration between immigrants who have come to them and their home countries, and that, in the principle of equitable development and justice, and the right of the sending country to benefit from the abilities of its subjects.

We should ask the receiving countries to aid Lebanon, not only trough financial support and donations, but by creating joint projects aiming at developing our local capabilities and investing within Lebanon.

We mention France for example which has launched programs to assist the highly skilled immigrants to undertake development projects, and transfer their skills into their home countries.


The Lebanese government must take advantage of this fact and establish links with states and specialized international agencies to set up a common vision and cooperation in preparing programs that would help Lebanon benefit from the investment potentials of its immigrants.

In what follows I shall speak of France, Italy, and the USAID as examples of support and assistance they have carried out with states that exported immigrants into them.

*France: it has put together a policy of co-development to support and ease the financing of investment and growth projects in the villages of countries that export immigration into it; and that, in collaboration with their immigration associations in France.

For example, a guarantee fund was established to give loans to Senegalese living in France, and intending to start projects in Senegal. In addition to creating a micro-credit union to also help finance similar schemes in Senegal.

This collaboration is also exhibited with Morocco. A program has been launched, under the tutelage of the European Union, which supports innovation in the technology and SME sectors trough purchasing shares in such companies by Moroccans living in France.

*Italy: It has co-signed a project with the Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) financed by the Italian government to put a strategy and an executive machinery to develop some of the productive sectors in Africa by Africans currently residing in Italy.

*USAID: It has always encouraged an immigration institution to finance developmental projects in their home countries. For example, “PAN AMERICAN “has helped raise the funding needed from immigrants to start such projects in countries like Mexico, El Salvador, and Haiti.

Conclusion:  Finally we point out the following main objectives for the course:

·       Encourage immigrants to invest their remittances in reliable projects combining their enthusiasm for developing their country and villages, and profiting from a reasonable amount of income.

·       Promote Lebanese export products through Lebanese Diaspora abroad into counties where they reside. And I refer here, as example, to the success of “Baklawa” and its soaring sales via Internet to immigrants, and then to the markets in which they are present.

                    ·       Increase the productivity of the immigrant institutions’ events,
                        exceeding the limits of acquaintances and protocols, as well as
                        reducing the duplication of the activities.



Relevant Links: (recommended by Kristin Jamed)

Home Politics Abroad: The Role of the Lebanese Diaspora in Conflict, Peace Building and Democratic Development

Lebanon’s remittance inflows resist instability


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1 (Poor: little effort; little work done; not very relevant -- Good, but Late)

2 (Good: good effort; answered questions appropriately; relevant -- Very Good, but Late)

3 (Very Good: great effort; answered questions very well; answers based both on text and on relevant (listed) outside sources,
and they demonstrate higher order thinking skills)



TOTAL: 100 Points

20 %: Session 1 || 20 %: Session 2

20 %: Session 3 || 20 %: Session 4

20 %: Participation [Engagement and Motivation],

Attitude, & Aspirations

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