EDAR-Facts and Figures: UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report 2018
There were about 41 million people counted as international migrants from, to, or within Africa.
• 19 million resided in Africa,
• 17 million left the continent,
• and 5.5 million were immigrants from the rest of the world.
Intra-African migration as a mechanism for fostering economic growth and promoting structural transformation.
Migration can contribute to economic growth and structural transformation in the following ways:
• As a catalyst for economic growth, intra-African migration can positively impact structural transformation in destination countries. If properly managed, intra-African migration could lead to a substantial increase in GDP per capita for Africa by 2030.
• Through trade (including in food imports from sending countries and heritage (nostalgia) trade) and by increasing within-sector productivity in agriculture, construction, mining, services, information technology (IT) and manufacturing.
• By fostering inclusive growth and poverty reduction, including through remittances and diaspora investment in countries of origin, and through taxes and consumption in destination countries. Intra-African migration also provides opportunities for Africa’s female migrants who comprised 47 per cent of Africa’s international migrants in 2017, and youth (ages 15-24) who accounted for 16 per cent of the continent’s international migrants.
• African countries can yield further benefits from migration:
o by aligning migration, trade and investment policies with development objectives;
o leveraging remittances and harness diaspora for productive investment;
o adopting more flexible labour policies to ease migrants’ mobility;
o integrating migrants in labour markets and by allocating resources to address structural determinants of Africa’s socio-economic development; and
o By adopting gender-sensitive policy measures in order to unlock the potential of female migrants to benefit from migration and contribute to African’s development.
International migration’s contribution to economic growth
• Migration is projected to boost Africa’s GDP per capita from $2,008 in 2016 to $3,249 in 2030; growing at an annual rate of 3.5% from 2016.
• International migrants’ contribution to GDP in 4 African countries: 19% in Côte d’Ivoire in 2008, 13% in Rwanda in 2012, 9% in South Africa in 2011, and 1% in Ghana in 2010.
• Migration contributes to destination countries’ development – through taxes and consumption (migrants spend an estimated 85% of their incomes in destination countries).
Intra-African migration and trade
• Migration stimulates trade (it's associated with increased food imports from sending countries). Intra-African migrants’ demand for food products increased food imports from sending countries. Emigration from Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to other African countries in 2000 and 2013 corresponded to the increase in food imports from these countries (reflected in the value of food imports from Zimbabwe which rose from $100,000 to $ 1 million, and from the DRC from $100,000 to $650,000 during this time period).
• Migration can also stimulate heritage (nostalgia) trade. Diaspora populations can play an important role as bridges to broader markets, through the promotion of trade and tourism in their countries of origin.
Intra-African migration and structural transformation (economic sector productivity)
• Intra-African migration is positively associated with within-sector productivity as an increase in migration stocks is associated with higher sector productivity in agriculture, construction, mining, services, information technology (IT) and manufacturing.
• If immigration grows at the 10-year average growth rate of 54% in 1990-2000 and 2000-2010, it could boost growth in within-sector productivity and potentially result in a growth take-off for countries with the lowest labour productivity.
Intra-African migration is a driver of inclusive growth
• Migration reduces poverty through remittances and diaspora investment.
o Female migrants are contributing to inclusive growth in both countries of origin and destination.
o Africa’s female migrants contribute just as much in remittances (in terms of cash and in-kind remittances) as their male counterparts.
Intra-African migration and employment
• Unemployment has been a key driver of migration in Africa (internal and international). Youth unemployment is a key driver of extra-continental migration from northern Africa migration. In 2016, the youth unemployment in Northern Africa stood at 29.3 %, well above Sub-Saharan Africa’s rate (10.9%).
• Demand for labour in economic sectors has been a key driver of intra-African migration.
o Demand in education (Rwanda), engineering (Rwanda), financial services (South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda), and IT (Rwanda and South Africa) has been a key driver of highly-skilled migration to the continent’s regional markets;
o Demand in construction (Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa), mining (South Africa and Gabon) and services for semi-skilled migration, and
o Demand in agriculture (Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa) and domestic service (South Africa and Mauritania) and informal cross border trade (in Southern, Eastern and Western Africa) for low-skilled migration.
• Intra-African migration generates positive effects for migrants:
o It can contribute to upskilling, with improved skills resulting in better paid, stable employment while enhancing migrants’ productivity. For example, low-skilled migrant farmers from Burkina Faso gained new skills in Cote d’Ivoire that enabled them to secure more stable employment in higher-skilled occupations that was often better remunerated.
o Employment-related benefits for countries: Destination countries can fill critical skills and labour market gaps, and countries of origin can accrue benefits from knowledge and skills transfer, and through domestic skills development.
o Lack of policy frameworks that recognize academic and professional qualifications in destinations and high costs associated with obtaining work permits impede highly-skilled migrants’ mobility in regional labour markets.
Intra-African migration and gender
• Female migration is growing in importance in Africa.
o In 2017, international female migrants in Africa - 47%. The absolute number of international female migrants increased from 6.9 million in 2000 to 11.6 million in 2017.
o International female migration in Eastern Africa exceeded the continental average (50 % vs. 47%).
o International female migrants in Africa engage in vulnerable employment in domestic service and informal cross border trade. In addition to being in vulnerable employment, women migrate under more challenging circumstances, given riskier migration journeys, family and care responsibilities at home.
Migration and remittances
• Remittance inflows to Africa rose from $38.4 billion in 2005-2007, to $64.9 billion in 2014-2016, on average. Remittances accounted for 51% of private capital flows to Africa in 2016, up from 42% in 2010.
• Countries with a high dependence on remittance inflows as a share of GDP include Liberia (26.7%) and Lesotho (18.2%).
• The cost of sending remittances in Africa exceeds the global average; Africa 8.9% on average for sending $200 vs. Global average of 7.3%.
• Within some African corridors, remittance-sending costs exceed the average cost for Sub-Saharan Africa, which stands below 10%.
o According to the African Institute for Remittances, in 2016, South Africa-Botswana, South Africa – Angola, South Africa – Lesotho, South Africa – Swaziland and Tanzania – Uganda were the costliest corridors in Africa, with the costs of sending remittances exceeding 15%.
o Conversely, at 4%, Senegal-Mali was one of the least expensive corridors in the world.