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Globalization, Migration, and the Challenges of Development in Africa

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For more content, please see Journal of Developing Societies.

The paper argues that, while globalization is a catalyst for international migration, its impact on Africa's development remains polemical. Generally, discussions on the impact of international migration on African development feature two contrasting views. One view, which is gradually gaining currency, points to tangible benefits from migration in the form of migrant remittance, which recent World Bank reports identify as the second largest form of capital flow to Africa after foreign direct investments (FDI). This view thus sees the impact of international migration on African development as positive. This paper, however, takes a different view and argues that the adverse effects of international migration on Africa, in the form of brain drain—the emigration of Africa's trained professionals—far outweighs the perceived advantages associated with migrant remittances. Consequently, on the aggregate, Africa's development suffers under the weight of international migration. The paper thus suggests the formulation of workable policies by the AU to manage the brain drain. Such policy measures should include a conscious attempt to address the root causes of the so-called "push factors" which instigate the emigration of Africa's brains in the first instance.


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