Contrary to common belief, many more Africans migrate to other African countries than they do to Europe, US or any other continent.
In fact ‘about eight out of ten African migrants leave for another African country,’ says the OECD Development Centre – African Union Commission.
Their impact on the economies of host countries is generally positive though limited. At the same time, Africa’s population is set to double by 2050, bringing 26 million additional young people into the labour force each year.
- Intra-African migration and immigrants’ contribution to their African host country is of immense value in the labour market, economic growth and public finance.
Ambitious and effective policies for labour markets, education and skills, health, fertility, food security and access to financial services will be key to creating enough decent jobs to reap a demographic dividend, while maximizing the positive contribution of immigrants to Africa – African Union Commission
“The African Union’s Agenda 2063 provides an ambitious, continental vision of inclusive economic transformation…addressing the interrelations between migration and other public policies is key to unleashing the continent’s potential for economic transformation,” Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre and Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary General on Development.
“Our review of economic research finds immigrants not only help fuel the Nation’s economic growth, but also have an overall positive effect on the income of native-born workers.“
-US White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Edward P. Lazear (2007)
Tangible Examples In Africa
There are numerous examples of immigrants’ positive economic contributions in African countries.
- In Côte d’Ivoire, immigrants paid more than half a percent of GDP more in taxes and contributions than they generated in additional fiscal costs in 2008.
- In Ghana, wages of native-born workers who live in areas where there is a higher concentration of foreign-born workers with similar skills appear to be higher than elsewhere in the country.
- In Rwanda, immigrants contribute more than 2.5 as much to value added as their share in the workforce would suggest.
A Case For The US
An Oxford Economics research study published by the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) concluded that migrant workers had helped maintain an adequate labour supply to fuel the 2004–2008 economic boom.
The availability of migrant labour seems to have made the difference between some businesses surviving, or in the case of food processing, not needing to relocate production abroad. (The authors quote a survey of 600 businesses where 31% said that migrants were important in the survival of their organisation and this rose to 50% in health and social care and agriculture.)
In addition the study indicated that migrants have
- facilitated growth in the economy;
- brought benefits to the tourism industry through the development of new air routes;
- had a positive influence on the productivity or efficiency of local workers;
- contributed new ideas and a fresh approach to firms;
- and greater cultural links with developing nations that will prove useful in growing international trade