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Georgetown Journal of International Affairs ; 23(1):43-51, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2318648


Despite the challenges, remittances frequently remain a primary source of economic support for those left behind, as well as for national development of post-conflict countries. [...]situations in the wake of recent conflicts are known for heightened remittance flows.3 As a large share of the remittance flows in conflict settings occurs through informal channels, the importance of remittances in these economies has often been underestimated. A focus on broader settings that can provide security, justice, and economic sustenance to individuals and communities affected by the crisis has been reflected in the human security approach6 to post-conflict7 development.8 Remittances can be central to fighting poverty—by diversifying household income sources, providing capital for productive investment and facilitating local markets, and funding education, health, and other social expenses.9 Remittances can contribute to post-conflict recovery in the long term. "20 Horst has shown that among the Somali diaspora in Norway, most political engagements do not occur through state institutions but take place on sub-national levels, including individual and group money transfers and certain humanitarian initiatives.21 Somali diaspora members mediate with clan leaders and elders who can contribute to reconciliation processes through customary mechanisms such as compensatory payments, but as noted above, such involvement can also sustain continued warfare.22 While the role of diaspora in post-conflict reconstruction efforts can be significant, diaspora can also remain an "under-utilized resource" whose strong emotional connection to their home country is offset by unstable institutional environments.23 Weak formal institutions and regulatory frameworks may offer little systematic support for entrepreneurship development, which is constrained by high transaction and compliance costs. Informal institutions and cultural attitudes remain important in the post-conflict assimilation of returning migrants who bring with them beliefs and understandings from their countries of settlement, resulting in hybrid norms and institutions.24 Many forcibly displaced and returning migrants may also lack properly transferable professional skills.25 The transfer of social and political remittances does not always signify "diffusion of democracy"—the effects of returning migrants to democratization depend on their experience of political mobilization as migrant workers, as well as on the status of democratic values in the political order of the host country, among other factors.26 Changing perspectives on conflict-affected remittances Remittances became central in the migration scholarship only in the 1990s, when the analytical focus shifted from migration as a result of [End Page 44] decision-making of rational individuals towards a more nuanced view of the role of households, social networks, and community in migration processes.