unctad.org | United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants
Statement by Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD
United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants
New York
19 Sep 2016

​You can’t wish away poverty, when it arrives on your doorstep. In an interconnected world where people vote with their feet, quick fixes alone won’t pass muster. More external investment in countries of origin, stronger capacity in their productive sectors and better trade links with regional and global markets are vital parts of the long term solution.

The challenges facing many refugees and migrants reflect the persistent poverty they face in their countries of origin. Between 2010 and 2015, four out of the five fastest growing populations of migrants living abroad came from countries of origin that are least developed countries (LDCs). These are countries with low incomes, few assets and that are highly vulnerable economically.

More international efforts to combat extreme poverty and create jobs in these countries will go a long way to a sustainable solution. This should include more attention to facilitating trade and investment links with these countries, and empowering their young people, small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The large numbers of migrants and refugees from LDCs are also a reminder that people in the poorest countries feel left behind by globalization. With the world economy remaining on track for the slowest decade of trade growth in 70 years, pessimism towards globalization has also fed the reaction towards migrants and refugees elsewhere, as well.

We must not forget that - more than anything else - trade has lifted billions of people out of poverty, and we must all of us work together to ensure that it continues to do so.

World leaders must recognize that the cost of mitigating immigration in destination countries and providing only humanitarian relief is much higher than addressing the root causes of migration and forced displacement at the source.


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