Prof. Mukhisa Kituyi

African migration could boost growth and positively transform the structure of the continent’s economy, UNCTAD’s 2018 Economic Development in Africa Report says.

“Population movements across borders often offer individuals a chance for a better life, with the social and economic benefits extending to both source and destination countries, as well as future generations,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said as he launched the report yesterday in Addis Ababa.

“Our analysis shows this to be true for millions of African migrants and their families. Yet much of the public discourse, particularly as it relates to international African migration, is rife with misconceptions that have become part of a divisive, misleading and harmful narrative.”

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The new report, subtitled “Migration for Structural Transformation”, does much to counter this narrative. Historically and in line with established trends, the report says that most African migrants move within the continent.
In 2017, the report says, 19 million international migrants moved within Africa and 17 million Africans left the continent. In addition, Africa is a migration destination for 5.5 million people who came from outside the continent.

The report says that in 2017, the top five intra-African migration destinations (receiving countries in descending order) were South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Nigeria, and Ethiopia (all exceeding 1 million migrants), the report says.

According to the report, the contribution of migrants to GDP was measured at 19 percent in Côte d’Ivoire (2008), 13 percent in Rwanda (2012), 9 percent in South Africa (2011) and 1 percent in Ghana (2010).

Meanwhile, remittance inflows from outside and within Africa rose on average from $38.4 billion (2005–2007), to $64.9 billion (2014–2016). These accounted for 51 percent of private capital flows in Africa in 2016, up from 42 percent in 2010. This is why both intra and extra-continental migration are needed for supporting Africa’s structural transformation.

THe report contributes to a better understanding of the implications of intra-African migration for the continent’s socio-economic transformation.”

The average age of Africa’s international migrants in 2017 was 31 years – the lowest median age globally.

In 2017, female migrants comprised almost half of all international migrants in Africa (47 percent). The absolute number of international female migrants increased from 6.9 million in 2000 to 11.6 million in 2017.

Africa hosts the bulk of the world’s refugees and internally displaced people.

The report’s analysis of the role of intra-continental migration in Africa’s development trajectory makes it a reference document that aims to assist in defining an African position in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration to be adopted in Marrakesh in December 2018.

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