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Latvian diaspora gives over €500m to the economy each year

The Latvian diaspora provides more than €500m a year to the Latvian economy, said Pēteris Elferts, the Foreign Ministry's Ambassador-at-Large for diaspora, in a Wednesday interview with Latvian Radio.

"Of course, the funds going out [of the economy] are several hundred million [euros] as well, but the balance is that more money returns to the Latvian economy," said Elferts.

Elferts used the interview to invite people to visit Latvia on its centenary and ask Latvians abroad to document their compatriots.

"I invite everyone connected to Latvia to visit at least once within the next five years," said Elferts.

"It is very important that we study and document our story, as a story of a Latvian or of a person with Latvian ancestry is our common story. We have to realize no one else will tell it for us," said Elferts.

Elferts said that the traces of Latvians in the world are a national heritage object.

There are currently more than 100 Latvian schools across the world, and new ones were opened in Greece and Turkey this year.

Elferts said that distance learning would be extremely helpful because in many countries Latvians life far away from the weekend schools.

About 370,000 Latvian nationals have taken up permanent residence abroad, including about 200,000 who left Latvia during the last 10 years.

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