IOM Kosovo joins the global community in celebrating the International Day of Family Remittances and is eager to draw attention to the profound impact that remittances from the diaspora community have in catalyzing economic growth and innovation within Kosovo.
Western Balkan economies, including Kosovo, experienced a surge in remittances these last years, making up a remarkable 10% of their cumulative GDP. In Kosovo, the impact was notably more significant, with remittances constituting 16% of the GDP in 2019 (OECD, 2022). This influx of funds is more than just financial aid to countless families; it serves as a vital catalyst for the local economy. Despite the recent global pandemic and financial crises (WB, 2022), the diaspora has consistently increased its contributions. It is among the most philanthropic communities, contributing over 51% of donations towards various social and civic initiatives in Kosovo.
Kosovo’s ties with its diaspora community extend beyond the financial realm. Several studies integrating industry and migration data and the latest Kosovo IT Strategy underscore that emigration can trigger innovation within places of origin by facilitating knowledge and technology transfers. This influence is reflected in the tech industry. Diaspora remittances have been instrumental in seeding tech startups, enabling youth to transform their creative concepts into reality. Thanks to the knowledge and skills the diaspora acquired and shared back home, Kosovo’s burgeoning ICT sector has enjoyed significant growth. As revealed by World Bank indicators, in the last decade ICT-related exports accounted for a significant 9.75% of Kosovo’s total service exports.
Now is a critical juncture for Kosovo to bolster the diaspora’s engagement in political and development spheres. The diverse expertise and experiences of the diaspora are an invaluable resource for Kosovo’s future. Efforts in Kosovo are being made to establish a vital bridge between the diaspora and local entities, fostering connections through business networks, language learning programs, and cultural centers. These initiatives aim to strengthen the role of the diaspora in contributing to promoting socio-economic progress.
At IOM, our mission is to magnify the impact of these remittances and expedite Kosovo’s trajectory towards innovative and sustainable development. We eagerly anticipate delving into these subjects at the upcoming First Migration and Development Conference on June 26th in Pristina, where we will examine labor mobility and the diaspora’s role in innovation and development.
IOM Kosovo is steadfast in its commitment to empowering those on the move and their families and advocates for their cause today and every day. As IOM Kosovo marks the International Day of Family Remittances, it pays tribute to the perseverance and commitment, assistance, and foresight of those who send remittances, recognizing that these qualities are enhanced by the knowledge and skills they acquire throughout their journeys.
 All references to Kosovo* shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999)
This Data is retrieved from the latest most comprehensive and reliable report of the Kosovo Agency of Statistics “Kosovar Migration”, published in 2014: “Kosovar Migration.” Kosovo Agency of Statistics. Prishtina: Kosovo Agency of Statistics.
 i.e.: "The Effects of High-Skilled Emigration on Innovation: Evidence from Inventor-level Data" (Miguelez & Fink, 2020); KOSOVO* EU Support for the Competitiveness of Kosovo’s ICT Sector.